The news prism of nationalism versus globalism: How does the US, UK and Chinese elite press cover ‘China’s rise’?

Yunya Song, Chin Chuan Lee, Zeping Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


China has regularly claimed to have been intentionally and systematically misrepresented by Western media. That said, their general characterization of China is said to see improvement with the initial impetus coming from Beijing’s hosting of Olympic Games in 2008. China’s representation in Western media has now entered what many observers considered to be an ‘age of uncertainty’, and it differs greatly from China’s projected self-image. This study examines US, UK versus Chinese media coverage of ‘China’s rise’ from 2009 to 2017. Our analysis entails a 2.2 million-word corpus of news texts retrieved from six leading national newspapers. A combination of computer-assisted corpus linguistics methods with critical discourse analysis was used to identify and compare linguistic elements as well as the structural dimensions that denote the journalistic positioning across large corpora. We argue that the globalist positioning stands in a dialectical relationship to the nationalist positioning. Globalism may be used to frame press narratives when it is viewed as suiting national interest, and this dynamic differs between the United States, the United Kingdom and China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2071-2090
Number of pages20
Issue number8
Early online date8 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • China’s rise
  • corpus linguistics
  • critical discourse analysis
  • discourse historical approach
  • news discourse
  • newspapers


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