AAS Annual Meeting

China and Inner Asia Session 375

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Session 375: The Politics of Media Representation in China: The Maoist Era and Beyond

Organizer: Vera L. Fennell, Lehigh University, USA

PANEL TITLE: THE POLITICS OF MEDIA REPRESENTATION IN CHINA: THE MAOIST ERA AND BEYOND. Panel Abstract At the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Communist Party of China constructed an impressive media network that was almost completely state-run but was completely state-controlled. It acted as an informational transmission belt, carrying state and Party ideals, goals and policy down to the masses and conveying a limited amount of masses’ responses up to the Party. The success of this media network was clear; its discourse became the very language of experience for the Chinese masses. Economic reform and semi-marketization has broadened this network and there are independent media sources that are not strictly bound to the control of state regulatory agencies. Has this new media environment tipped the informational transmission belt in favor of “the people”? How has this new media environment affected the older state-run, state-controlled media outlets? Does the media in China still reflect state and Party ideals, goals and policy? And what of “the masses” and their memories……how do they negotiate the memories of their experience of China and Chinese-ness with the current socio-political order?

“Changing Society and Changing Images of Women in Media”
Yuping Zhang, Lehigh University, USA

“Changing Society and Changing Images of Women in Media” As the “Iron Girl” generation reaches middle-age, how do they remember their youth and how do they assess the status of young women in China today? This paper attempts to answer these questions by looking at the role models offered to contemporary women in contemporary China and compares their impact to role model images from the Maoist era. The data for this paper comes primarily from group and one-on-one interviews conducted by the author over a five year period.

“Representations of China in Asia: CCTV’s Overseas Broadcasts”
John R Jirik, Lehigh University, USA

“Representations of China in Asia: CCTV’s Overseas Broadcasts” In recent years, China has moved to assert an image of itself in Asia as a partner and friend to countries around the region. In particular, it has developed CCTV’s overseas broadcasts in Chinese and English as a platform for not only representing China to Asia but also for representing Asia to itself. This paper discussed the strategy deployed by CCTV and some of the broadcasters’ recent successes and failures.

“Reading Red through Black: How Maoist China Used Race to Legitimize its Leadership of the Third World”
Vera L. Fennell, Lehigh University, USA

“Reading Red through Black: How Maoist China Used Race to Legitimize its Leadership of the Third World” In April 2005, the People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) published an editorial commemorating both an event – The Asian-African Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia on April 18, 1955, and an idea – Third World political solidarity, a political, developmental, and ideological bond between China, the African continent, and Latin America. This notion of a longstanding cross-racial and highly ideological relationship, currently described as “….South-South cooperation…”, was being mined by the People’s Daily, like copper ore out of Zambia, to legitimate China’s contemporary relationship with African states and their leaders and to link this process of legitimating the past. This paper uses newspaper reports and propaganda posters to analyze how China’s leadership of the “Third World”, referred to and legitimated as “…support for our black brothers…”, discursively represented political power. This discourse legitimated and enacted a vision of an international community that was an alternative route through the bipolar Cold War international dynamic and legitimated China as a revolutionary leader of such a community.