The framing of China in Danish newspapers

The framing of China in Danish newspapers In this master thesis, the Danish newspaper coverage of China in March, June and September of 2009 is evaluated to determine what framing Danish newspapers use, when they cover China.

Chinese politicians and overseas citizens have often condemned western coverage of China, calling it biased and subjective. China-scholars at Danish universities thinks that the coverage of China in Danish newspapers are somewhat lacking.

Even Danish China-correspondents lament the way that Danish newspapers frame China. However these are all subjective opinions that have not stood the trial of an academic evaluation. This master thesis goes beyond anecdotal knowledge and identifies three distinct types of frames that the Danish newspapers use in their coverage of China and why it is those frames that are used.

The three types of distinct frames are extracted using a proven theoretical framework with subsequent validation from an independent researcher. First frame is titled “Human rights abuse from the Chinese authorities”.

This frame often shows the plight of ordinary citizens being caught by between dysfunctional authorities. The victims in this frame are not only limited to ethnic Chinese but also to Tibetans and foreigners that is somehow censored by the Chinese authorities.

Second frame is titled “China grows”. This frame tells us about a surging Chinese state that uses its newly gained economical power to gain influence across the globe.

The Chinese interests are often seen as a threat to the traditional Western, and in particular American, status as the deciders of world politics. Third frame is titled “Danish organizations in China”.

This is about Danish organizations’ interests in China and how the organizations’ view the Chinese market and their role in it. The reasoning for using each one of these frames is different. Moral responsibility seems to be the most important reason for editors and journalists to write stories about the abuses from the Chinese government against their citizens.

The second frame is used because there is an understanding that China is an important country and that its actions abroad and internally affects the world. Therefore it is a notion of high materiality that is behind the second frame.

The third frame is because newspapers are interested in following the Danish organizations’ plans on the big Chinese market. This is also considered a notion of high materiality. I have in combination with the thesis written several articles regarding the challenges and current situation that several Danish companies who are on the Chinese market currently face. These articles use the best parts of the current framing and try to avoid the culprits.

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