Discussing Environmental Issues in Chinese Social Media: An Analysis of Greenpeace China’s Weibo Posts and Audience Responses

Qihao Ji, Summer Harlow, Di Cui, Zihan Wang




Despite growing interest in citizens’ use of social media for environmental purposes, the way in which environmental non-Governmental organizations (ENGOs) employ social media has been largely neglected. Drawing on environmental communication and message framing scholarship, this content analysis of a year’s worth of Greenpeace China’s Weibo posts and user comments explores a) how a leading ENGO discusses environmental issues on social media, and b) how users react to various environmental topics and framing strategies in terms of liking, sharing, and commenting. Results suggested that Greenpeace China adopted the responsibility frame heavily in messages and focused largely on pollution-related topics. Users reacted the most to food and agriculture-related posts. The conflict frame was related to more emotional comments, and the presence of a responsibility frame was related to more likes and reposts. Implications for framing studies on social media and environmental communication are discussed.


advocacy; content analysis; emotions; environment; framing; social media

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