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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China Media Centre 2016 Winter Seminar – Prof Qian Yufang, Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, China


Speaker: Prof Qian Yufang

Research Centre for Discourse and Communications,

Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, China

Date: Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Time: 14:00 – 16:00

Venue: RS 501, 309 Regent Street W1B 2HW

Chair: Professor Chang Xiangqun


Abstract: The past few decades have seen corpus linguistics emerging as a new and dynamic social research method. Text corpora provide large databases of naturally-occurring discourse, enabling empirical analysis of the actual patterns of language use; and, when coupled with (semi-)automatic computational tools, the corpus-based approach enables analysis of a scope not otherwise feasible. Examples of real life language use are collected, in order to support or negate the researcher’s hypothesis. Corpus access software can not only demonstrate the nonobvious in a single text, but expose ‘hidden thoughts’ beyond the researcher’s expectation. Corpus investigation is useful for critical linguists, because the observed frequent repetitions help the researchers to identify and make explicit descriptions of texts. Corpora can play an extremely important role in critical social research, allowing researchers to identify objectively widespread patterns of naturally occurring language and rare but telling examples, both of which may be overlooked in a small-scale analysis.

Key words: corpora, media discourse, research method, corpus analytical tools

Biography: Qian Yufang, Professor and Head of the Research Centre for Discourse and Communications, Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, China. Her research interests include discourse studies, discourse communication and corpus linguistics. Her book Discursive constructions around terrorism in the People’s Daily and The Sun before and after 9.11, Oxford Peter Lang, won the National Prize for Outstanding Achievement of Social Science, which is the top governmental prize for social science in China. She has published series of journal articles on corpus-based media discourse analysis. She has completed two Ministry of Education Social Science Projects. She is currently directing one China National Social Science Foundation Project. In 2013, she was appointed as an expert of appraisal for National Social Science Project; in the same year, she was appointed as the member of Teaching Guiding Committee for College Foreign Language Majors under the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education. In 2014, she was awarded as Provincial Excellent Teacher by Zhejiang Provincial Government.

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