Haixia Wang (Lan)

Chinese public discourse: A rhetorical analysis of the newspaper People’s Daily

Haixia Wang [now Lan]

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1993 pp: 300
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice M.
  • Source:DAI-A 55/09, p. 2807, Mar 1995
  • Subjects: Language, General (0679); Journalism (0391); History, Asia, Australia And Oceania (0332)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9420915

Abstract:

        This study examines the discursive practice of the

People’s DailY

    •  in Beijing during the Tiananmen crisis, analyzing the complex process in which the primarily monologic discursive practice in the newspaper molded Chinese attitudes towards the incident. The significance of a systematic rhetorical investigation into the intricate mechanisms of this Chinese discursive practice is twofold. It will increase our understanding of the role that public discourse plays in the Chinese subject formation and, in turn, will contribute to cross cultural rhetoric. This study is part of a larger rhetorical investigation of how discursive practices form ideologies.
    • A Burkean and Bakhtinean critical examination of the discursive practice of the People’s Daily indicates that the newspaper suffered from a lack of dialogism. In repeating endlessly one human agent’s symbolic act of naming, the newspaper ignored, suppressed, and silenced its own rich philosophical and cultural potentials. As a result, during the Tiananmen incident, (1) the newspaper was effective only in molding some elite competing ‘Rectifiers of the Mandate of Heaven;’ (2) the one version of the Tiananmen events that the People’s Daily published held little meaning for a majority of the Chinese people; and finally (3) this self-sealing discursive practice even made the Party’s own revolutionary traditions suffer.
        The study concludes that the

People’s Daily

    •  has to become a more dialogic discursive practice, inviting different voices of the Chinese culture to participate in discussions of political, cultural, and social affairs.