Yu Chen

PhD researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Classical Chinese, English
Key Expertise
Chinese politics and media studies, Social movement

About me

Project Title 

Social media, citizen activism, and public awakening: The anti-zero-COVID campaign in China

Research Topic

Yu's project is an interdisciplinary study, aiming to explore the resistance to China's zero-COVID campaign from the perspective of political/mediation opportunity structure. It examines how Chinese citizens use social media to creatively and artistically express their disobedience and participate in public discussion and action, ultimately contributing to the exit of the zero-COVID policy in China. She pays particular attention to the role of social media in this process, and is approaching the research from three dimensions: first, the production of an alternative discourse that deactivates the official discourse represented by the mainstream media; second, how Chinese citizens make their voices heard and diffuse their resistance; and third, the role of social media as a network for mobilizing public support, thereby constructing a collective identity and public sphere.


Yu received her BA in Journalism from Lanzhou University in China and her MA from National Chengchi University in Taiwan. She was one of the first full-time students from mainland China to pursue a Master's degree in Taiwan, and was awarded the Excellent Mainland Chinese Student Scholarship. In 2016, she revisited Taiwan at the invitation of the Chinese Youth Solidarity Association to observe the 2016 Presidential and Legislative elections.

Prior to joining LSE, Yu was a veteran journalist with nearly 18 years of professional experience, witnessing the decline of Chinese journalism from its gold era. She began her career in journalism in 2002 as a Shanghai correspondent for the 21st Century World Herald, one of China's most influential weekly newspapers at the time. After the sudden closure of this liberal newspaper in 2003, she worked for several Chinese media, including the Oriental Morning Post, The Bund, Southern Metropolis Weekly, and Kankan News, having served as an investigative editor, chief editor, senior chief writer, and head of legal reporting department. 

Yu is also the recipient of the Shanghai Wenxin News Prize and several international journalistic program Fellowships, such as the "Imaging Our Mekong" Fellowship, the German-based IJP Fellowship and IJP Premium Fellowship. While in Germany, she conducted research on German transformational justice, German reunification, and alternative media in Germany. She also participated in a UN training program in Geneva in 2010.


Professor Bart Cammaerts and Dr Nick Anstead

Expertise Details

Chinese politics and media studies; Social movement; Journalism; Populism; Gender studies