Author: Zhang, Lejin
Title: Media representation of China's image : a linguistic study of British and China's mainstream English newspaper reporting of belt and road initiative
Degree: DALS
Year: 2017
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Critical discourse analysis
Newspapers -- Language
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xii, 210 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This study attempts to investigate media representation of China's image in China Daily (CD) and British four broadsheets through identifying and explaining the commonalities and differences in the reporting of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Based on the approach of Critical Discourse Analysis, the study examines the linguistic realization of attitudinal meanings in the news reports and in its projection of China's image through the direct and indirect realization of attitudinal meanings about China and its Initiative from three levels, i.e., thematic analysis, lexical-semantic realization, and metaphorical representation. The significance of this study lies in its integration of methodologies as well as a novel perspective on the study of China's image. Methodologically, this study has explored a new combination of toolkits from corpus linguistics, systematic functional linguistics, and critical metaphor study for a thorough investigation of media representation of China and its new Initiative. Assisted by the corpora and corpus software of AntConc and ConcGram, the study first investigates topic areas and themes from the headlines and most frequently occurred words in the corpora of CD and British broadsheets. It is found that both corpora share five main topic areas, including BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE, CHINA, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INVESTMENT and TRADE, although there is differential salience. Thematically, CD is generally positive, while British broadsheets show more variations in the patterns and modes of sentences, demonstrating a complicated mix of positive, negative, factual and conservative polarity over China and Belt and Road Initiative.
Furthermore, a comparative study of the classification scheme of the lexis from the concordance lines of key concepts in relation to the Initiative in the two corpora and of the AFFECT lexis is also conducted. It is found that both media have shared understanding of the nature of the Initiative, though they have quite opposite Affect over China-related issues with differential focus on agents and their states of being, due to diverging media policy and national interests. CD has limited emotors and triggers with China and Belt and Road Initiative explicitly and far more frequently mentioned. In contrast, British reports portray China as an ambitious talker in a conflicting context with various problems to solve by using more diversified emotors and triggers of AFFECT over China. Such divergence in the selection of lexical classification and AFFECT between the two corpora shows different national interests and geo-political interests of each news agency on one hand, and the beginning of dialogic patterns of reporting by both corpora, though the degree and range still need to be deepened and expanded, on the other hand. Metaphorically, it is found that in CD reports, the most frequent target domains include Belt and Road Initiative, infrastructure investment and China's economic development and the most frequent source domains include JOURNEY, BRIDGE, WAR, ENGINE, HARVEST, WATER, VEHICLE and PATCHWORK. Meanwhile, metaphors in British broadsheets are distributed mainly around topics of economic development, overseas investment, capital, and foreign relations, etc. and the most frequent source domains include JOURNEY, WAR, GAME, WAGTER, ENGINE, MEDICINE and VEHICLE. In general, China's media has projected harmonious opinions, emphasizing the positive attributes of the policy more than reporting various issues and possible difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Initiative. British media has manifested more divergent opinions, allowing competing voices to construct a multi-faceted image of China. The study concludes with a proposal for taking a glocal, multicultural perspective in reporting China and its Initiative(s). By exploring China's and Western representation of contemporary China through a comparative analysis of mainstream newspapers in both China and Britain, the study has contributed to our further understanding of multicultural existence, manifesting intricacies and complexities in projecting and managing national image.

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/9256