Print Capitalism, War, and the Remaking of the Mass Media in 1930s China

Sei Jeong Chin

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2 Scopus citations


This article explores the intricate relationship among print capitalism, war, and the popularization of newspapers in 1930s China by analyzing the motivations for publishing the Libao 立报 and the reasons behind its success. Most of the print capitalists publishing major broadsheet newspapers in Shanghai in the early 1930s did not have a strong financial motivation to popularize such broadsheets especially because of the relatively small circulation of printed materials, the underdevelopment of communications infrastructures, the low level of literacy, and the small size of the middle class. However, this study of the Libao published in the mid-1930s demonstrates that the simultaneity of the commercialization of print media and the outbreak of the national crisis in the 1930s gave rise to the expansion of a politicized reading public and to popular nationalism, and provided print capitalists with financial motives to popularize and politicize newspapers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-425
Number of pages33
JournalModern China
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 SAGE Publications.


  • Cheng Shewo
  • Libao
  • Sino-Japanese War
  • popularization of newspapers
  • print capitalism


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