Online patriotism in China evolved into a broad sociopolitical phenomenon from 2003 to 2006. Although this was a period during which Sino-Japanese economic and financial relations deepened and diversified considerably, national sensitivities and historical memory remained at the forefront of the relationship. Several high-profile incidents spurred the emergence of anti-Japanese patriotism online in China, including the 2006 MIT controversy. This article examines the misplacement of context and the misinterpretation of “apology” (daoqian) in that controversy, which set forth different discussion agendas in the US and Chinese cyberspheres.

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