Online Activism and Grassroots Memorialization in the Age of COVID-19: Dr. Li Wenliang's Virtual Wailing Wall

Adam Hinden, Ziying You, Zhen Guo
Cultural Analysis Forum Series
Series 1, 2023
March 1, 2023


This article uses Dr. Li Wenliang’s virtual wailing wall as a case study to illustrate the continuities and transformations of online activism and grassroots memorialization during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Referencing diverse comments at the wall, online community, grassroots commemoration and online activism of the site are qualitatively analyzed. The article argues that the virtual wailing wall became a space for public contestation of official narratives, and thus illustrates the innovative agency of ordinary Chinese netizens. The study contributes to our understanding of the power of folklore in the face of crisis.

Keywords: online activism, grassroots commemoration, online community, virtual wailing wall, mourning, grassroots agency, COVID-19

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