Gender Representation in Chinese Political News Coverage of Corruption
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The many high-speed developments since China implemented its policy of Opening and Reforming in 1978 include more freedom for women to work and choose lifestyles. However, many studies claim that women still face challenges and gender discrimination in their work environment and in the family. This study addresses one area that has received little attention, which is the question of gender equality in media discourse. My aim is to identify gender images in news reports and news stories about corruption, including power relations behind those images, by addressing three research questions: (1) How are women, overall, described in news reports and comments about corruption in China; (2) Is there any difference between the ways in which women and men are depicted in news reports about corruption? If so, what is the difference; and (3) What do any observed differences reveal about the nature of power and gender relations in contemporary China? My analysis employs quantitative Content Analysis and qualitative Critical Discourse Analysis, applied to media reports and articles from the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and four commercial websites - Sina, Sohu, Fenghuang, and Wangyi - for the period from 2012 to 2017. The data reveal that women are under-represented with respect both to the number of corrupt cadres cited in the reports and in reporting on personal life issues. The analysis highlights the role that traditional cultural expectations continue to play in influencing the ways in which women are described in the news stories about corruption. Women are depicted as people who violated their family duties in family as well as individuals who caused much corruption among men. By analysing the relations between male cadres, women and the ruling party, I demonstrate that by owing corruption to individuals, the government mitigates its pressures and covers up systematic flaws in causing corruption. By decoding the nature and role of gender images in news reporting on corruption, my study contributes to understanding the influence of political power and patriarchal power in constructing gender norms in corruption news, showing how traditional culture can intertwine with contemporary political and media systems.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeDavid, Mirela; Zong, Li; Cheng, Hongming; Noppen, Pierre-Francois
Copyright DateApril 2020
Critical Discourse Analysis