Media Sensation: Public Justice and the Sympathy of an Urban Audience

Eugenia Lean

in Public Passions

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247185
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932678 | DOI:
Media Sensation: Public Justice and the Sympathy of an Urban Audience

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In a decade when high-profile news events seemed to be the norm, the case of Shi Jianqiao managed to stand out. The 1930s saw several assassinations of political figures, and high-profile female murderers emerged with considerable frequency. The widespread news coverage and adaptation of Shi Jianqiao's case into forms of entertainment were crucial in creating collective sympathy. This chapter explores the media events surrounding the case to understand how news coverage and fictional adaptations of the Shi affair created opportunities to explore topics that might otherwise not have found public airing in the increasingly repressive political environment of the period. It was in these arenas of fiction and theater that collective sympathy for the avenging daughter grew. This sympathy, in turn, validated the topics and norms being explored and promoted through the adaptations.

Keywords: female murderers; Shi Jianqiao; collective sympathy; news coverage; media events; assassinations

Chapter.  11390 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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