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How do western media cover China - Essay Example

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How do western media cover China

Historically, western nations of the world have risen and developed much earlier than those from the far east, especially South East Asia. Such developments in the west from the fifteenth century have radically shaped the image of Europe being a forerunner in progress. It has set the standard for the rest of the world to emulate (Cao, 2012). This has developed an arrogance which claims the western portrayal of the ‘orient’ as incapable of ‘modernization’ (Said, 1978). From nineteenth century scholars such as Marx and Hegel, to modern authors such as Fukuyama (1989), non-Western nations have been portrayed as technologically and socio-politically inferior to western countries. Three Events Meriting Media Coverage for the World Guo (2012) identified three major events in Chinese history in 2008 that have been portrayed by western media in several ways. These are the Tibetan riots in March, The Wenchuan Earthquake in May and the Olympic Games in August. With these three events happening in a span of a few months, China has received a wide variety of impressions from all over the world thanks to the subjectivity/ objectivity of news delivery of western media. The Tibetan riots were impelled by political causes and were highlighted with the conflicts and disputes on religion, freedom of speech and politics between Chinese society and western media. These riots attracting much attention from media and may have conveyed to the world that political instability can result from such a spectacle. The overall perception created by the western media was allegedly “inaccurate, ideologically biased against and unfair towards China” (Guo, 2012, p. 78). Chinese scholars thought that western media coverage of the Tibetan riots portrayed it as a government crackdown instead of a mere act of riot or unrest from a minority of the population of civilians (Guo, 2012). They felt that the foreign correspondents sided with the Tibetan rioters who were described as suppressed in their fight for freedom and equal human rights. On the other hand, these correspondents were critical and suspicious of the Chinese government. Further, such reporting of the news on the riots was not constrained to the event itself but was linked and analyzed with other protest actions such as the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and a possible boycott of the forthcoming Beijing Olympics a few months after the riots (Zhao, 2008). The negative impression created by this western media coverage affected people’s anticipation of negative outcomes in the holding of the Olympics in China in the same year. What was expected to be an exciting and momentous sports event was marred by an anti-Chinese torch relay during the Olympics because of the earlier Tibetan riots (Zhang & Yu, 2008). Such display of rebellion has turned world opinion against China, and this was highlighted by western media (Guo 2012). Hosting the Olympics meant a big deal to China since it represented an achievement of a long-held ambition to show the world that sport is taken quite seriously in this country, not merely for fun or physical competition. For China, it is about national honor, pride or shame. The Olympic spirit is tightly intertwined with the Chinese nationalist sentiment (Guo 2012). The great anticipation in planning this grand event was disappointed by the natural disaster of an earthquake and the human intervention of a rambunctious riot meant to divert attention from the grandeur of the Olympics. In contrast, the Wenchuan ...Show more


How China is Portrayed by Western Media China’s rich history reflects the colourful culture of the country as well as the multi-faceted personality of its people. However, media has portrayed China in a variety of ways which may not fully correspond with the truth…
Author : emmykshlerin
How do western media cover China essay example
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