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People, propaganda and profit: Understanding media in China



12:30 – 14:20


2nd semester

Lecture venue
Lecture time
Offer semester
  • This course utilizes media studies and sociology theories and engages students in a cross-disciplinary investigation on the social implications of the changing media environment in China. By analyzing various forms of media and communication, including newspapers, television, film, advertising, the arts, and new media, this course examines the subtleties and dynamic interplay of evolving political, economic, and social forces and their prospects for the transformation of mass media and culture in China.

    1. Identify and describe major factors that transformed China’s media from a vehicle of mass propaganda to mass communication.

    2. Assess the limitations of unfettered media commercialization and profit making within continued Party ideological domination.

    3. Describe the emerging of the people’s voice via the rise of new media, other diverse media and popular culture forms and analyze its contribution to the development of China’s nascent civil society.

    4. Critically analyze the on-going debate concerning media autonomy and Party control by applying various media studies and sociology theories covered.

  • Tasks


    Group project


    Individual assignment


    Tutorial Facilitation/presentation and participation


  • De Burgh, H. (2020). Chapter 1 China Comes Out. In China’s media in the emerging world order (Second ed.)(pp 8-37). London, England: University of Buckingham Press.

    Dong, T., Liang, C., & He, X. (2017). Social media and internet public events. Telematics and Informatics, 34(3), 726-739. https://www-sciencedirect-

    Edwards, D., & Svensson, M. (2017). Show us life and make us think: engagement, witnessing and activism in independent Chinese documentary today. Studies in Documentary Film, 11(3), 161-169.

    Fu, J. (2021). Chapter 2 Citizenship in China. In Digital Citizenship in China – Everyday Online Practices of Chinese Young People (pp. 39-63)(1st ed. 2021.. ed., Perspectives on Children and Young People, 12).

    Harwit, E. (2017). WeChat: Social and political development of China’s dominant messaging app. Chinese Journal of Communication, 10(3), 312-327. https://doi-

    Lei, Y. W. (2016). Freeing the press: How field environment explains critical news reporting in China. American Journal of Sociology, 122(1), 1-48.

    Luo, A. J. (2015). Media system in China: A Chinese perspective. International Communication of Chinese Culture, 2(1), 49-67.

    Lou, S., & Cheng, H. (2017). Advertising in China: global implications and impacts. In China’s Media

    Go Global (pp. 259-273). Routledge.

    Meng, B. (2018). The Cultural Politics of the Entertainment Media In The politics of Chinese media: consensus and contestation (pp. 105-125). Springer. https://link-springer-

    Shao, G., Lu, J., & Hao, Y. (2016). Assessing China’s media reform. Asian Perspective, 40(1), 27-50.

    Wang, M. (2017). The socially engaged practices of artists in contemporary China. Journal of Visual Art Practice, 16(1), 15-38.

    Xu, J., & Sun, W. (2018). Media since 1949: Changes and continuities. The Sage Handbook of Contemporary China.

    Zhao, Y. (2013). China’s Quest for “Soft Power”: Imperatives, Impediments and Irreconcilable Tensions?. Javnost-The Public20(4), 17-29.

  • Cheek, T. (2006). Living with reform: China since 1989. Zed Books.

    Fu, J. (2021). Digital Citizenship in China – Everyday Online Practices of Chinese Young People (pp. 39-63)(1st ed. 2021.. ed., Perspectives on Children and Young People, 12).

Course co-ordinator and teachers
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