‘Friending’ Jet Li on Facebook: The Chinese Celebrity Persona in Online Social Networks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


In recent years, well-known martial arts movie actor Jet Li has attained phenomenal success through star-powered philanthropy, even establishing his own worldwide humanitarian charity, One Foundation. With the advent of participatory Web-based culture, cyberspace becomes an emergent locus of constructing and reinventing Li’s star image. This article investigates Li’s celebrity-philanthropist image in cyberspace and its signification. The analysis focuses on Facebook Pages, an organized virtual space displaying content including user interactions and microblogging known as a timeline. This article argues that Facebook presents a new and promising venue for users to negotiate Li’s ‘polysemic’ personae as martial arts master and philanthropist juxtapose, parallel and contradict each other in a decidedly nationalist vs cosmopolitan manner. Li’s national-yet-cosmopolitan personality not only yields an image of a viable global player in the entertainment arena but also serves as a text of linked significations opened up for users’ relentless (re)making, revisiting and interrogating, complicating the meaning of Chinese celebrities in the milieu of globalcyber culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-192
Number of pages24
JournalAsian Cinema
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

User-Defined Keywords

  • celebrity
  • cosmopolitan
  • martial arts
  • online social networks
  • philanthropy
  • polysemy


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