Linguistic tools of empowerment and alienation in the Chinese official press
Accounts about the April 2001 Sino-American diplomatic standoff
Attempts at reinvigorating mythical sensations of shared values and cultural identities happen particularly at times of dislocatory events in a community’s history, when ‘the national Self’ is perceived to be threatened by external forces. Such a critical moment for China was the collision between a US surveillance plane and a Chinese F-8 jet fighter on April 1, 2001, and the ensuing diplomatic standoff between the US and China. As the Chinese authorities and the state media viewed this incident in a series of ambiguous incidents involving the US, it was concluded that the collision had been the inevitable outcome of US hegemonism intended to provoke China. It is this concurrence of events, triggering feelings of disempowerment of the Self that causes recurrent flurries of heated anti-Other rhetoric. Boundaries of exclusion/inclusion along cultural, historical and political lines set up the Other as the negative mirror of the Self, which as a consequence is positively reasserted. Informed by insights from Language Pragmatics and Critical Discourse Analysis, this paper sets out to examine linguistic tools of alienation and empowerment in the Chinese official press narratives about the collision, comprising the Chinese-language Renmin Ribao, its English equivalent The People’s Daily and the English-language China Daily. It aims to trace processes of meaning generation, in particular discursive practices of an ideological nature, such as antagonistic portrayals of in- and outgroups, hegemonic exercise of power, as well as naturalized conceptualizations of contingent processes, structures and relations.
Keywords: Pragmatics, Discursive practices, Hegemony, Discourse analysis, Alienation, Othering, Antagonistic portrayals, Chinese official media, Myth-making, Empowerment, US/China diplomatic standoff, Spy plane collision, China Daily accounts, EP-III surveillance plane
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) 4.0 license.
Published online: 01 September 2010
Beller, M., and J. Leerssen
Billig, M., S. Condor, D. Edwards, M. Gane, D. Middleton, and A. Radley
Cheng, J.Y.S., and K.L. Ngok
Dyserinck, H., and M. Fischer
Galtung, J., and M.H. Ruge
Gamson, W., and A. Modigliani
Gries, P.H., and K.P. Peng
Hall, S., T. Jefferson, J. Clarke, and B. Roberts
Hao, Y.F., and L. Su
Hook, S.W., and X.Y. Pu
Huang, Y., and S.M. Leung
(2005) Western-led press coverage of mainland China and Vietnam during the SARS crisis: Reassessing the concept of ‘Media representation of the Other’. Asian Journal of Communication 15.3: 302-318. BoP
Kan, S.A., R. Best, C. Bolkcom, R. Chapman, R. Cronin, K. Dumbaugh, S. Goldman, M. Manyin, W. Morrison, R. O’Rourke, and D. Ackerman
Laclau E., and C. Mouffe
(2007) Continuity or change in language practices of the Chinese official and media discourse since the late 1990s? Paper presented at International Conference “Defining the Field: Themes in Contemporary China Studies”, Centre for Research in the Arts,Cambridge University,13-15April.
(2008) From collision to compromise: “We are sorry” – one utterance, two interpretations. A discourse-analytical approach to the official rhetoric and the international media coverage of the US surveillance plane collision with the Chinese jet fighter. Paper presented at IAMCR International Media Research Congress, Stockholm, 20-25 July.
Littlewood, R., and M. Lipsedge
Morson, G.S., and C. Emerson
[Internal Report]. News Bureau, CCP Central Propaganda Department 2003/15: 4.
O’Sullivan, T., J. Hartley, D. Saunders, M. Montgomery and J. Fiske
Potter, J., and M. Wetherell
PRC Foreign Ministry Press Release
(2001) Spokesman on Chinese military airplane bumped by a U.S. military surveillance plane, April 1, 2001. Available at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/9519.html (accessed on 10/04/2001).
Renwick, N., and Q. Cao
Slingerland, E., E.M. Blanchard, and L. Boyd-Judson
(2007) Collision with China: conceptual metaphor analysis, somatic marking, and the EP-3 Incident. International Studies Quarterly 51.1: 53-77. MetBib
Simon-Vandenbergen, A.M., P.R.R. White, and K. Aijmer
Stanzel, F.K., I. Weiler, and W. Zacharasiewicz
Tian, D.X., and C.C. Chao
Van Dijk, T.A.
Van Dijk, T.A.
(1999) Understanding pragmatics. London: Arnold BoP
Wodak, R., R. de Cillia, M. Resigi, and K. Liebhart
(1999) The discursive construction of national identity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. BoP
(2002) Another collision: How mainstream Chinese and American newspapers framed the Sino- US spy plane collision. M.A. thesis, University of Florida.
Zhang, J.Y., Q. Qiu, and G.T. Cameron
(2005) News framing: A comparison of the New York Times and the People’s Daily coverage of Sino-US spy plane collision of April 1, 2001. M.A. thesis, University of Florida.
Cited by 4 other publications
Adnan, Wan Najmiyyah Wan Md & Sarimah Shamsudin
Niu, Shanshan & Jeannine E. Relly
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 09 september 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.