Disillusionment and dismay: How Chinese netizens think and feel about the two Koreas

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The deterioration of Sino-South Korean relations following the attacks on the Cheonan and on Yonpyong Island in 2010 has again raised the question of Chinese intentions in the Korean peninsula. In this article, I explore Chinese netizen views of the two Koreas. Qualitative and quantitative evidence (in the form of a large-scale national Internet survey) provide convergent evidence that while Chinese netizens feel coolly toward both Koreas, they think and feel about them in very different ways. Chinese netizens appear to be profoundly disillusioned with a North Korea that refuses to adopt Chinese-style "reform and opening," which only reminds them of their poor and authoritarian past. However, recent high-profile historical and cultural disputes appear to have led to widespread Chinese dismay and even anger toward South Korea as well, which is perceived to be poaching on China's proud cultural heritage. These attitudes toward Korea are reflective of evolving Chinese understandings of what it means to be Chinese in the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-56
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of East Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Chinese nationalism
  • Chinese netizens
  • Popular opinion
  • Sino-Korean relations


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