Skip to main content
 Zizheng Yu

Zizheng Yu

Research student

+44 (0) 7410384384
Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

Zizheng Yu has worked for the Country Garden Real Estate in China as a Senior Brand Manager; as a Journalist in Chinese Southern Daily in Foshan, and UK Chinese Journal in London; as a Research Associate in China Current Network. Now, Zizheng Yu is a PhD Candidate at Cardiff University, JOMEC. Zizheng is a committee member of the UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association (UCMeCSA), and also a member of IAMCR through the institutional membership of Cardiff University.

Does the latest digital technologies in several popular social media apps really empower Chinese consumers’ powers to protect their legitimate consumer rights? My current research is focusing on the connection between the short-video-based social media platforms and consumer activism in China. 

Research interests

My research interests mainly focus on short-video-based (SVB) social media, consumer activism/political consumerism, media practices, video activism, social movements, digital activism and cultural semiotics studies. 

Conference Presentations:




Professional Memberships: 


An Empirical Research on Consumer Video Activism and the Emergence of the Consumer Sphere in China

Short-video-based social media platforms are becoming a common tool for an increasing number of consumers to safeguard their legitimate interests in China. In July 2018, an increasing number of homebuyers in Chengdu, China uploaded short videos of their offline protests against various housing quality problems of their new-buying houses onto the short video platforms. The clips spread out instantly and attracted massive attention of the public and the media. They successfully urged the Chengdu housing administration to establish a mutual communication platform to solve the problems between homebuyers and real estate companies. Similarly, In April 2019, a Female consumer sat on the hood of a Mercedes car in a dealership in Xi’an and protested against the engine oil leakage problem of her Mercedes car. The video of her tearful protest went viral on multiple short video platforms, received much attention from different parties, and finally got fair reimbursement.

However, there is scant research dealing with the interrelationship between these short video platforms and consumer activism in China. This research asks: Based on the perceptions of four groups of interviewees—Chinese consumers, media journalists, public relation officials and relevant government officials, what happens to the activism practices of Chinese consumers and its corresponding results when they intertwine with short videos and SVB platforms? How does this strategy work? What happens to the media journalists, PR officials and relevant governmental officials respectively when they intertwine with the activism practices of Chinese consumers? The conceptual framework of this article is as follows: Firstly, drawing on the concept of video activism and its historical contexts in China, I argue that the consumer video activism practice as the latest manifestation of video activism in China. Secondly, under the social movement definitions and grievance generation theories, I define the concept of Chinese consumer activism, and answer the questions of how we can understand the root cause of the latest Chinese consumer video activism practices in the Chinese context. Thirdly, based on the paradigm of “theorizing media as practice” and the concept of “activist media practices”, I theorize the Chinese consumer video activism as a kind of creative media practice, and define that the mutual interaction processes among consumer activists, media objects and subjects are the emphasis of this research. Finally, based on the core controversial public sphere researches in China and abroad, I conclude with a discussion of the conception of “consumer sphere”.

By interviewing 62 interviewees in four groups, and analysing four latest “short video activism” cases that represent how short video platforms are deployed by consumers to make appeals, I argue that the “consumer video activism” practices of consumers work in China, Chinese consumers can effectively use short videos to share injustices they encountered with the general public and the mass media, then urge the government to amend their regulations on a specific area, and demand the company to correct their faults. Moreover, the short video platforms and Chinese consumers are co-constructing a “consumer sphere” model within the “cross-platform short video circle” in today’s Chinese society.


Dr Emiliano Treré

Senior Lecturer in Media Ecologies and Social Transformation

Stuart Allan

Professor Stuart Allan

Head of School