Monday Forums in SOAS China Institute on Monday, 27 February, 5pm-7pm: Why are the Chinese media Chinese? Prof. Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster)

Why are the Chinese media Chinese?

Prof. Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster)

Date: 27 February 2017 Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 27 February 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Forum

Registration: Free, but registration essential to guarantee a place

Hugo de Burgh


Until recently media academics have tended to look at the Chinese media and in particular Chinese journalism as deviations from the norm, or as having, on account of political pressure, failed to have modernised. Underpinning this is a theory that ‘modernisation’ is a common process through which all societies go, sooner or later, and that the most advanced societies are the Anglophone.The assumption has also been made that identical technology and similar organisation work to homogenise media.Nevertheless, recently there has been a move towards trying to understand the media of specific countries as reflexions of culture and products of their own history. Simultaneously, format producers work hard to localise formats created elsewhere. If we apply this approach to China, the most useful explanatory tools are provided by anthropology and history. Political economy can only unearth part of the story. In this talk, I will attempt to show how, if we look at the Chinese media differently, we can explain better how they are distinct from those of the Anglosphere, as indeed are those of the Mediterranean, and probably other areas of the world. The Chinese media, like the Anglophone, have both strengths and weaknesses. The political systems to which they are attached influence them but they are also reflexions of cultures which have also conditioned the political systems.There are, in other words, no such things as global media. The Anglophone media are Anglophone. Chinese, Chinese.


Hugo de Burgh is the director of the China Media Centre and Professor of Journalism in the Communications and Media Research Institute of the University of Westminster. A pioneer of the study of the Chinese media in Europe, he worked for 15 years in British TV and is an authority on investigative journalism. His books and articles on China and its media have been published widely. He is writer presenter of The West You Don’t Know, a 7-part documentary series which is the first commission by CCTV of foreign-made programmes and was transmitted over Chinese New Year 2013. He is the author or editor of 8 books; writer on investigative journalism now specialising in Chinese affairs, his China’s Media will be published by Polity USA in 2017. Earlier books include The West You Really Don’t Know (in Chinese, 2013), China’s Environment and China’s Environment Journalists (2012) and Investigative Journalism (2ndEdition, 2008). He is Professor at Tsinghua University, and SAFEA (National Administration for International Expertise) Endowment Professor for 2014-6.

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