Macquarie University
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Constructing HIV/AIDS in Chinese newspapers: a frame analysis

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posted on 2022-03-28, 20:35 authored by Xiaoguang Zhu
China, which has the second largest HIV/AIDS population in Asia, has become a focal point for the global prevention of the AIDS epidemic. As in other countries of the world, newspapers play an important role in the framing of epidemics and in the shaping of public opinion. Hence, it is crucial to examine the ways in which HIV/AIDS is represented in Chinese newspapers and the implications of those representations for the ways that members of the public view HIV/AIDS and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). This thesis, in an attempt to examine the framing of the discourse surrounding HIV/AIDS constructed by Chinese national, provincial and metropolitan newspapers, aims at identifying the dominant frames, discourses and influencing factors that prevail in the coverage of HIV/AIDS. To achieve this research goal, a theoretical framework has been constructed, drawing upon the framing of 981 news stories about HIV/AIDS selected from six national, provincial and metropolitan newspapers. Particular focus is upon newspapers published in Yunnan and Henan (China's two most severely infected provinces) between 1 November to 31 December each year between 2000 and 2008; in addition, 30 transcripts of interviews conducted with journalists and editors involved in the reportage of HIV/AIDS were analysed by adopting qualitative content analysis. The research results reveal (1) that the dominant frames in the six newspapers were prevention/education, medical/scientific, political and socio-economic/cultural and a broad miscellany of other frames. Policy/legal, global cooperation/assistance and human rights/ethics frames were of significant order; (2) that journalists from the CCP party organs and their affiliated metropolitan newspapers tended to adopt politics-oriented and event-oriented framing, while journalists from journalistic professionalism-pursuing and market-driven newspapers were more likely to employ socio-economic/cultural framing; (3) that the dominant public discourse surrounding HIV/AIDS remains morality-centred; and, that stigma, prejudice and discrimination persist towards PLWHAs; and, (4) that the values and norms of media organisations, the values of journalists, routinisation, marketisation and the media environment were factors that influenced the coverage of HIV/AIDS in Chinese newspapers. -- This research extends previous studies, considered limited in focus, of newspaper content, by analyzing the views of journalists; in addition, the research is an empirical study based on first-hand material. The results will provide the Chinese government and state-controlled media with useful information that will allow a reframing of HIV/AIDS that may eliminate stigma and discrimination towards PLWHAs and that is more humanistic and non-exclusionary.


Alternative Title

Constructing HIV / AIDS in Chinese newspapers

Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Construction of the press -- 3. HIV / AIDS in the Chinese press - from agenda-setting to framing -- 4. Methodology -- 5. Dominant HIV / AIDS frames and discourse in Chinese newspapers -- 6. Investigation of the social construction of the HIV / AIDS reality: interviews with journalists -- 7. Discussion and conclusions.


Bibliography: pages 235-257

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Naren Chitty

Additional Supervisor 1

Wei Bu


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Xiaoguang Zhu 2012.




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