I. Status quo and analysis of Chinese military fans
1. Number of military fans in China
According to a survey jointly conducted by the Network Research Center of Chinese Military Culture Society (CMCS) and Beijing Hua Yue Think Tank on 30 Chinese military websites, and their comparison of the attention paid by TV and print press to military news in recent years, there are about 140 million military fans in China, including 2 million core military fans and 100,000 military fans with special military knowledge. Military fans accounted for about 15% of Chinese netizens.
2. Growth of Chinese military fans
The first-generation military fans appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly comprising veterans and their descendants.
The second-generation military fans grew with the breakout of the Gulf War. The advanced weapons used in that war fascinated countless Chinese youths who were still students at that time.
The third generation featured a more diverse composition in terms of profession, education and social status. China saw the explosive growth of the third-generation military fans after the online military channel Jian Chuan(Warships and Vessels) founded in 1998 and a namesake military forum launched in 1999.
The fourth-generation military fans are no longer one-way readers like those in the age of traditional media. With the rapid development of Internet technology in recent years, they have formed their own online clubs like "Frontline of Military Fans" to express themselves, upload their "achievements", and even hope to influence national military plans through online discussions and offline activities.
II. Internal characteristics of Chinese military fans
1. Social composition of Chinese military fans
1. People working in scientific research institutes related with military industry, and some military members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Armed Police Force (APF) who are on active service; 2. Successful professional military writers; 3. People working for military media and publishing houses; 4. Experienced non-professional military fans; 5. Non-professional military fans, mainly young students.
2. Classification of Chinese military fans' hobbies
1. Fans of military equipment constitute a large part of military fans and they frequently use online lingoes in communication; 2. Fans of military history usually "make friends by discussing history" and organize offline activities in historical relics of military significance; 3. Fans of military tactics and costumes are a young group that likes wearing and collecting gorgeous everyday costumes, dresses and personal combat outfits of various countries; 4. Fans of military photography and tourism like shooting other military themes in addition to warplanes and warships; 5. Fans of military games are a younger and emerging group that enjoys the excitement of weapon and war in the virtual space.
3. Conspicuous characteristics of Chinese military fans
1. Chinese military fans are politically reliable. Most of them love their country and military; 2. Chinese military fans are highly cohesive. They can easily create a national and professional platform of discussions because of common interests; 3. Chinese military fans are highly professional. They make all kinds of technical analysis and their conclusions can be found in various military forums every day, reflecting the professionalism of Chinese military fans in modern times; 4. Chinese military fans are still subject to the possibility of secret leaking. Some military fans are called "wall-climbers" (they would climb the wall of military facilities to take photos) and "insiders" (they claim to have inside information), who copy all kinds of military related information without discrimination, and some even share those information online with exaggerated details. This can easily leak secrets.
III. How to bring into full play the role of military fans ?
1. Lower the risk of leaking national military secrets. Military fans, with their professional expertise and patriotism, can voluntarily erect an online barrier to identify "online spying" behaviors and guarantee national military security through self-discipline.
2. Give more play to folk "think tanks". Military fans' professional expertise, interests and capabilities should be brought into full play, so that they can function as "think tanks".
3. Clean the online eco-environment. Military fans' love for the country and military should be highlighted to improve their overall quality and make them the supervisor and executor of online eco-environment purification.