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China Chats with Stanford Faculty: Information Flow Between Global and Chinese Social Media with Professor Jennifer Pan

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Despite the connectivity of social media, the Chinese government has been extremely successful in using controls such as firewalls and filtering to restrict the transnational flow of information into China. Does information from global social media flow into China? What types of information are transmitted and by whom? In this talk, Professor Jennifer Pan will share answers to these questions based on on-going research where she analyzed 14 million tweets to identify viral Twitter content pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak and China during the first quarter of 2020. She developed a system that combines deep learning and human annotation to determine whether these viral tweets appear in a corpus of 8.3 million Weibo posts related to COVID-19 from the same period.

This Stanford alumni event will feature Stanford professor Jennifer Pan, Associate Professor of Communication, and Associate Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University. She will be joined by professor Hongbin Li, co-director of Stanford Center on China's Economy, and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), who will moderate a discussion about the major themes of the research. A question and answer session with the audience will follow the discussion.


About the Speakers

Headshot of Dr. Jennifer Pan

Jennifer Pan is an Associate Professor of Communication, and an Associate Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University. Pan received her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and her A.B. from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs.

Her research resides at the intersection of political communication and comparative politics, showing how authoritarian governments try to control society in the digital age, how the public responds, and when and why each is successful. Her book, Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers (Oxford, 2020) shows how China’s pursuit of political order transformed the country’s main social assistance program, Dibao, for repressive purposes. Her work has appeared in peer reviewed publications such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and Science. 

Dr. Hongbin Li

Hongbin Li is the Co-Director of the Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions (SCCEI) and a Senior Fellow of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). Hongbin obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2001 and joined the economics department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he became full professor in 2007. He was also one of the two founding directors of the Institute of Economics and Finance at the CUHK. He taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing 2007-2016 and was C.V. Starr Chair Professor of Economics in the School of Economics and Management. He also founded and served as the Executive Associate Director of the China Social and Economic Data Center at Tsinghua University. He founded the Chinese College Student Survey (CCSS) in 2009 and the China Employer-Employee Survey (CEES) in 2014.

Hongbin’s research has been focused on the transition and development of the Chinese economy, and the evidence-based research results have been both widely covered by media outlets and well read by policy makers around the world. He is currently the co-editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics.

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