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From ethnic media to ethno-transnational media: News-focused WeChat subscription accounts in Australia
chapterposted on 2023-08-15, 02:51 authored by Fan YangFan Yang
In Australia, engagement with WeChat has transformed the previous Chinese ethnic media into ethno-transnational media, in the sense that content production and distribution have been expanded both inside and outside Australia. This chapter focuses on the influence of WeChat from China to Australia and seeks to address the question: How has WeChat's governance changed the landscape of Australia's Chinese ethnic media? The chapter argues that WeChat has been proactively incorporating overseas media accounts into the platform's own governance framework—which is dominated by Chinese state actors—through economic convenience and platform accessibility. This governance model entails that, firstly, politically sensitive topics such as the current Australia-China tension are dodged by news-focused WSAs in Australia to avoid the platform's censorship or are framed in a way that does not displease China; and secondly, a dilemma emerges: News-focused WSAs in Australia identify themselves as “platforms” in order to evade the responsibilities of media outlets, whereas both Australia and China perceive those media accounts as “news publishers” and urge one another to regulate those entities through a media framework on WeChat.