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Perspectives on the Occupy Central Demonstrations in Hong Kong: A Critical Discourse Analysis on English-language Press in Hong Kong S.A.R, Taiwan and China
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper is concerned with media perceptions and how these manifest as hegemonic practices. Exploring the theme ‘language and politics’, against the backdrop of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP) demonstrations in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), this paper sheds light on the discursive constructions of media representations in three ‘Chinese’[1] regions as well as on how such representations constitute vested interests. By addressing mediatised social, political and institutional discourses in the ‘Chinese’ context, this leads to an exploration as to how perceptions are embedded within larger socio-political discourses of sovereignty and legitimacy. The focus of analysis is the English-language press in Hong Kong (HK/HKSAR), China (PRC) and Taiwan (ROC). Critical discourse analysis is carried out on a series of thirteen newspaper articles[2] with the objective of making explicit the invisible ‘work’ that discursive strategies do in influencing interpretations and understanding of a political event in a non-Western context. Guided by Martin & White’s (2005) appraisal theory, the analysis views newspaper discourses not only as value-laden texts but by doing so also reveals readers’ and writers’ stance thus dispelling the myth that ‘news’ is objective. Findings depict varied perspectives on the Occupy Central demonstrations – Mainland and HK newspapers’ treatment were rather critical, while Taiwanese perceptions tended towards the analytical. This difference suggests HK and Mainland media as ideologically aligned – hegemonic – and positions Taiwanese media as potentially counter-hegemonic. Amidst issues of declining press freedoms, considerable variations were also found among the HK newspapers suggesting the presence press plurality. Regardless, media hegemony over public perceptions were found not only to contribute to and uphold certain interests vested in the maintenance of ‘Chinese’ sovereignty over HK under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework. Overall, findings confirmed just how influential a role the media plays as an extension of and in the realm of politics as well as in shaping public opinion. Through the lens ‘language and politics’, this paper explores the notion of ‘language’ and ‘discourse’, its functions and significance within non-English/Western national media systems. Such an examination thus highlights concepts and issues relevant in the field of bi-/multilingualism in society.

[1] The term ‘Chinese’ is used in inverted commas throughout this paper and is mainly employed as an umbrella term to refer to the regions of Hong Kong, Taiwan and China for expediency. However, the inverted commas also denote that caution should be exercised when using the term as a referent to either language, culture and/or people as it may index different norms depending on context. This point is further elucidated in the introductory part of this paper as the term ‘Chinese’ is viewed as a social construction.

[2] The data is taken from two newspapers per region with two news articles per newspaper, with the exception of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) where 3 news articles were analysed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 87 p.
Keyword [en]
critical discourse analysis, appraisal theory, media analysis, English-language newspaper, hegemony, sovereignty, democracy, Occupy Central, politics, multilingualism
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127073OAI: diva2:907318
Available from: 2016-02-29 Created: 2016-02-23 Last updated: 2016-02-29Bibliographically approved

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