Semiofest 2014 Keynote announced!

Cynics, netizens and safe rebels – the changing values of young Chinese consumers

What are the values of China’s young generation, growing up amidst a wave of diverse and sometimes contradictory forces? How far has the rise of individualism – and the influence of international culture – changed young people’s relationships with China’s traditional culture and social structure? Has the increased space available on the Internet really made them as assertive in standing up for their opinions as is sometimes argued? And how does their increasingly sophisticated understanding of the media affect their behaviour as consumers? With illustrations from media, popular culture and society at large, Duncan Hewitt will seek to answer some of these questions…

About Duncan Hewitt


Duncan Hewitt was a BBC correspondent in China from 1997–2002—first in Beijing and later in Shanghai, where he opened the BBC bureau—and has more recently written for Newsweek and other publications from Shanghai, focusing on Chinese society, media and culture. He first lived in the country from 1986-7, while studying Chinese at Edinburgh University. His book ‘Getting Rich First: Life in a changing China’ (Vintage, 2008) focuses on the human aspect of China’s enormous social changes since the 1990s, covering everything from urbanization and welfare reform to youth culture and the sexual revolution. It was serialized as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University Shanghai, where he lectures on journalism and the Chinese media. In 2012 he presented a series on the impact of social media in China for the BBC World Service. In 2011 he was a journalism fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University, researching the relationship between China and the international media. He has also published translations of Chinese literature, including short stories by Mo Yan, and a crime novel, Hanging Devils (Penguin Books, 2012).

View more of the Program and speakers here.