Mission Impossible? Soft Power, Communication Capacity, and the Globalization of Chinese Media

Wanning Sun


Recent media policy statements made by the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership invariably stress the importance of strengthening Chinese media’s “communication capacity,” but how communication is understood by the CCP leadership remains somewhat unclear. Engaging a range of perspectives from critical media and communication studies, this article examines a dominant view of communication held by the Chinese leadership and explores a number of ways in which that view shapes the direction of Chinese media’s efforts to “go global.” Through the prism of media events, including the CCTV’s coverage of the Sichuan earthquake, news, and current affairs, this article argues that, despite the increased quantity of Chinese media content overseas, the sphere of disagreement between Chinese media and its international counterparts — over what kind of stories should be told and how to tell these stories — seems insurmountably vast.

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