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Talking, linking, clicking: The politics of AIDS and SARS in urban China


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Yu, Haiqing 2007 , 'Talking, linking, clicking: The politics of AIDS and SARS in urban China' , Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, vol. 15, no. 1 , pp. 35-63 , doi: 10.1215/10679847-2006-023.

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The spring of 2003 has been vividly described as the "spring of masks" in China.1 Soon after the nation staged the largest ever AIDS campaign on World AIDS Day (December 1, 2002), the unknown "white" anxiety of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) took the place of the known "red" threat of HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).2 Enveloped in a SARS panic, the whole nation was decorated by a variety of masks that smelled of disinfectant.

The successive red threat and white anxiety have brought about a quiet cultural revolution in Chinese society. Unlike the Maoist one, this revolution is not one of ideology led by the state; rather, it is a revolution of information vectors. It is part of what has been called the "silent revolution" that is leading to the resubjectification of post-Mao citizens.3 Upon closer look, [End Page 35] though, these post-Mao citizens are not silent: they talk, link, and click. By talking on radio and television, linking with others through real and virtual networking, and clicking the keyboard of the mobile phone and/or computer, these citizens, especially those from the urban middle classes, are able to appropriate and expand the circulatory matrix of narrative, subjectivity, and citizenship. New media have become the venues and means for post-Mao citizens to re-form subjectivities and exercise citizenship, which in turn exposes the politics of AIDS and SARS in urban China.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Yu, Haiqing
Journal or Publication Title: Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique
ISSN: 1067-9847
DOI / ID Number: 10.1215/10679847-2006-023
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Copyright © 2007 by Duke University Press. All rights reserved.

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