The Chinese. The tweet all started with Zhang

The article talks about the
censorship on the internet taking place within Chinese borders and how it has
spread to Canada, the United States, and many other countries. A student (Shawn
Zhang) from UBC who had recently transferred from a university in China posted
a tweet on twitter. He had posted a picture of the Tibetan flag and with the
words “Free Tibet” above it. Just hours after posting this tweet the Chinese
police had contacted Zhang’s parents and told them to make their son be quiet.

The student made a critical point that other countries such as Canada and the
United States have to be under the same censorship as China if they wish to do
business with the Chinese. The tweet all started with Zhang giving a sarcastic
congratulation to the hotel chain The Marriot as earlier that week they had
referenced Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as countries in a rewards program. The
hotel chain later had to shut down their website for a week as punishment given
by the Chinese government and give a formal apology. Later on, a Marriot
employee liked the tweet that Zhang had posted, causing more tension and
embarrassment between the hotel chain and China. Zhang has since refused to
remove his tweet as he believes it shouldn’t affect the Chinese citizens
because they have a ban on Twitter and they can’t even see it. In recent
reports, it shows that only 35 of the 108 countries gained in global freedom
whereas 73 showed declines in freedom. Which “as Zhang put it, is very
disturbing” (Vancouver Sun).

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Diffusion is the process of
spread of a phenomena or trend from one place to another over time (textbook).

In this case, I am looking at Twitter as the trend that is being spread through
contagious diffusion which is the rapid widespread diffusion of a feature or
trend throughout a population (textbook). I will also look at hierarchical
diffusion which is the spread of a phenomena or trend from one key person or
node of authority or power to other persons in place (textbook). Twitter was
created in 2006 and by 2010 they had 30 million active monthly users and by the
end of 2010, they had 54 million active monthly users. This continued to
increase and diffuse across the world. By 2011 the number of users had doubled
and by the end of 2012, they had 185 million active users. These numbers have
continued to diffuse and have reached 330 million active monthly users
(Statista). Twitter began with the majority of the users being in the United
States, Twitter diffused to other countries including Indian, Japan, Germany,
the United Kingdom, Brazil and Canada (textbook p.100). The article touches on
many different kinds of users, including the student at UBC, hotel chains, and
even airlines. They all have learned to use this social media platform for
different uses such as connecting with peers or marketing.


Culture is learned behaviors and
beliefs specific to a group (notes). Within a culture, there is a popular
culture which is culture found in a large, heterogeneous society that shares
certain habits despite differences in other personal characteristics
(textbook). I will mainly be looking at the limiting of access to social media
within popular culture. Twitter recently blew up in past years being very
popular in 2012 and onwards. It quickly became a pop culture with there being
330 million users across the world in 2017. Twitter is a social media platform
that is used by everyday people, celebrities and even the presidents of the
United States. With that being said Twitter has been completely banned from
China. The Chinese government is able to filter practically everything that is
on the internet. According to the Open Net Initiative, the amount of internet
users in China has continued to grow while the government has increased the
restriction on the internet ( They use pervasive filtering in
political and conflict/security screening and substantial filtering in social
and internet tools screening. In comparison, the Canadian Government has no
evidence of filtering their internet. Considering how hard it is for a
government to block the connections of satellite and internet, it is even
harder to block one person’s social media. These trends show how much power the
Chinese government has on screening the internet from Chinese users and this
article shows the severity of it. Since the tweet was posted while in Canada
and within only a couple hours the police had contacted Zhang’s parents about
the tweet they found offensive shows to what magnitude they will go to, to
censor their viewers. There is little to none internet freedom within China. It
will be nearly impossible for a Chinese citizen to even see this tweet or the
news articles about it because of these strict rules set on the internet by the
government. The citizens of China won’t that this was a big debate across the world and made headlines thanks to
the limiting of access to social media through popular culture.