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Media in China: Constructing National Resistance in Natural Disaster Representations

Weimin Zhang

This book examines how media can be used in facilitating crisis control following natural disasters. Set in the context of the contemporary Chinese nationalistic culture this book dissects how Chinese media enhances disaster relief by constructing the meaning of it. It takes a historical overview of the negotiations between discursive power and media coverage of natural disasters in Chinese media. It then conducts a case study of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake to analyze how Chinese media enhance crisis control in engaging with contemporary Chinese nationalism. In examining the mediated disaster relief closely relevant to this study within a global context this book briefly analyzes the Australian media’s representation of the 2013 Tasmanian Bushfire. In a penetrating investigation of the research question a systematic theoretic framework is structured consisting of the theories of representation, discourse and power, cultural identity, media framing and narratives.

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Chapter Seven Conclusion


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Chapter Seven


This study draws upon Chinese culture and society as a context and the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake as a case study to analyze how a discourse of resistance is formulated in order to control a crisis caused by a natural disaster. Such crises require systematic responses including the coordination of the disaster relief, the rescuing of victims, and the mobilizing of emergency and social infrastructure resources. How the media represents and interprets the disaster also plays an important role. It is beyond the scope of this to consider every aspect contained in disaster relief, instead it examines the information flows and production of meanings in a disaster situation, and specifically examines how a select media discourse was constructed in the Chinese media to enhance the representation of disaster relief in the Wenchuan earthquake. This study argues that the natural disaster is the ultimate cause of the crisis situation; however, the most disturbing aspects of the crisis are not limited to death and the devastation of properties.

Such was the case in the Wenchuan earthquake. The crisis situation caused by the earthquake included multiple aspects and levels. It included challenges in deploying resources, personnel and equipment, the dispersing funds, challenges to the social psyche and pressure on the government for response. For instance, there were specific and urgent demands for assistance such as mass public hygiene support. These were among the most urgent material needs. There was also an urgent...

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