China and the Changing Geopolitics of Global Communication
Date: 9 April 2016
Location: 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS
Conference organised by:
China Media Centre, University of Westminster
Managing Department of Social Sciences, Communication University of China
Faculty of International Media, Communication University of China
- Pál Nyíri, Professor, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
- Garrie van Pinxteren, Senior Research Fellow, Leiden Academic Centre / Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael
- Jiang Fei, Professor, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
- Anthony Fung, Professor, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Daya Thussu, Professor of International Communication, University of Westminster
- Zhang Lei, Professor, Communication University of China
- Hugo de Burgh, Director, China Media Centre, University of Westminster
The growing global presence of China has impacted on many aspects of life in the contemporary world, including the geo-politics of global communication. Since 2006, China has been the largest holder of foreign-currency reserves, estimated in 2015 to be more than $3.3 trillion. According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s Gross Domestic Product surpassed that of the United States in 2014, making it the world’s largest economy in purchasing-power parity terms, while its currency, the Renminbi, was admitted by the IMF into its reserve currencies basket in 2015, joining the club of the world’s other four elite currencies: Dollar, Euro, Pound and Yen.
As part of China’s ‘going out’ strategy, $7 billion has been earmarked for external communication, including the expansion of Chinese broadcasting networks such as CCTV News. In the cyber world too, China has demonstrated extraordinary growth: in 2015, half of China’s 1.3 billion people ￼￼￼were online, making it home to the world’s largest number of internet users, and three of the top ten internet-based companies were Chinese.
China is now one of the biggest aid donors and a driving force behind BRICS, the group of large non-Western nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which has established a BRICS Bank to fund developmental projects. China has also set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and its recent initiative of ‘One Belt, One Road’, reviving the historical legacies of the land and maritime silk routes, encompasses more than 100 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. These projects, potentially rivalling the Western-dominated Bretton Woods institutions, such as the World Bank and the IMF, raise interesting possibilities in relation to geo-political and global governance issues.
While US conglomerates continue to dominate the global media landscape, including digital media, other major non-Western powers, notably China, have emerged onto the global scene, complicating discourses of media, development, geo-politics and governance. This phenomenon of Chinese media globalisation and its impact on global communication has so far largely escaped academic scrutiny, partly because the focus of much international scholarship has been on the issue of censorship and media regulation in China.
This pioneering conference assesses the impact of the ‘peaceful rise of China’ on the geo-political environment and poses questions about its effect on global communication. While recognising the limitations of a media system that operates within a one-party state with its attendant regulatory and control mechanisms, there is ample scope to evaluate how Sino-globalisation is contributing to enriching the political, cultural and economic discourses globally. Will the growing globalisation of China help redress the imbalance in media flows and thus contribute to a pluralistic media globe?