Zipeng Li

  • PhD Candidate in Chinese Studies, the University of Edinburgh 
  • Master of Science in Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University 
  • Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Sun Yat-sen University 



It may be too early to judge the social media’s function for political democratization in China. However, the Internet has extensively drawn scholars’ attention for its political implication. Online forums and blogs have been studied for their potential political function. But few scholars have conducted research on social media from the policy impact perspective. This paper focuses on the relationship between social media and policy initiatives regarding the disaster Tianjin Explosion. We generate the theoretical framework based on the theory of agenda setting and “policy entrepreneur”. We ask: what is the relationship between the policy initiatives agenda and the social media discussion agenda? Is it possible that policy entrepreneur within Chinese government would refer to social media for policy making? Or are there certain groups of people on social media can express as “peripheral policy actors”? Two aspects of social media and policy documents are the focus: the theme correlation linked by key words and publication sequence. With the assistance of Nvivo and Chinese government website, the paper applies content analysis to both social media data and policy initiatives related to Tianjin Explosion Case. 


‘A Media Approach to China-U.S. Relations’, the Journal of International Relations and Affairs, 2014

Talks and Conferences

China Dynamics Conference, Kings College London, 2016