Author: Ye, Meng
Title: Ideological representations of Chinese Muslim groups in Chinese and U.S. media (2001-2015) : a comparative approach
Advisors: Li, Lan (ENGL)
Yap, Foong Ha (ENGL)
Ho, Victor (ENGL)
Bhatia, Aditi (ENGL)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Islam in mass media
Mass media -- Religious aspects -- Islam -- United States
Mass media -- Religious aspects -- Islam -- China
Muslims -- China
Department: Department of English
Pages: xi, 294 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The current study explores the ideological representation of Chinese Muslims in American and Chinese newspapers. The study hopes to achieve a better understanding of representations of Chinese Muslims in the media, a significant ethnic group in China and part of the global Muslims. The study also hopes to contribute to the theory of the media representation of Muslims. Notably, it hopes to explore if Chinese Muslims are affected by prejudice against Muslims in the media worldwide. The research employs corpus-assisted discourse analysis based on van Dijk's socio-cognitive approach to CDA. Corpus was used to identify the contexts for the representation of Chinese Muslims, identifying topics (i.e. subjects in the news), attitudinal features, news participants (i.e. people addressed in discourse) and collocates of terms about Muslims (e.g. "Muslim"). The linguistic features and categorisations of Chinese Muslims were then explored qualitatively with specific analytical tools, such as transitivity, topos and membership categorisation. The data comprised two corpora, made up of news texts respectively from China Daily (i.e. CD) and The New York Times (i.e. The NYT) from Sept 11th, 2001 to 2015. The corpus from China Daily included 747 pieces of news (485,327 total words), while the NYT corpus consisted of 448 news pieces with 355,311 total words. Each corpus had two sub-corpora, with July 5th, 2009 (i.e. the Xinjiang Riots) as a dividing line. The findings of the study reveal that China Daily has represented the majority of Chinese Muslims as an ingroup in the past 15 years, i.e. moderate Muslims and good Chinese citizens. Moderate Muslims and modern Chinese are portrayed in the discourse of Muslim culture and religion, as well as pleasant and successful Muslims. Ethnic Muslims are likewise treated as powerless minorities buttressed with the Chinese government's paternal effects. This portrait is contextualised in the discourse of social transformation and Chinese governmental officials.
A minority of Chinese Muslims, categorised as Muslim terrorists, are represented as an outgroup in CD. Lawless and evil Muslim terrorists have occurrences in The NYT. And they are treated as enemies of most Muslim people, Beijing and the world. The representations of these ethnic Chinese Muslims become significant in the coverage of Muslims after the Urumqi Unrests in 2009. The discourse of terrorism and anti-terrorism are typical contexts of this portrait. Chinese Muslims, in the 15-years coverage from The New York Times, are categorised as an outgroup in the newspaper. The majority of ethnic Muslims are treated as fundamentalists and threats to the non-Muslim world. A frequent portrayal is resentful "Oriental others" in China, in the discourse of ethnic relations and Muslim religion. Contextualised in the discourse of violence, social security and Chinese officials, Chinese Muslims are demonised as dangerous others. This portrayal of Muslims is significant in the post-09 news of Muslims. Additionally, Chinese Muslims are treated as victims of Beijing's control and social marginalisation, in the coverage of Beijing's controls of Muslims, violence and anger from Muslims. In The NYT, a minority of Chinese Muslims are categorised as an ingroup. The delineation of this group of Muslims is powerless, but brave social activists are striving for the rights of them. This portrait is contextualised in the discourse of bravery, powerlessness and individual Muslims in the NYT corpus. However, the same small group of Chinese Muslims are treated as Muslim terrorists in CD. Dissimilar and similar linguistic features are found between the two corpora. The voices from the Chinese government, the topos of comparison and advantage are typical in the CD. The positive presentation of most Muslim people and Beijing and the negative presentation of Muslim terrorists are stressed. In the NYT, the negative presentation of the majority of ethnic Muslims in China and the CCP, as well as the positive presentation of Muslim social activists are underscored. The topos of humanitarianism and justice and voices from multiple sources are in The NYT news. Besides, many linguistic features are similar between the two corpora, such as the topos of numbers, history and modal verbs.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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