Media portrayals of the Hong Kong Occupy Central Movement’s social actors: Multilevel and critical discourse analysis

Janet HO, Ming Ming CHIU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

We investigated how two English-language newspapers – Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) and the mainland China Daily (CD) – portrayed key social actors (police, students, protesters, and governments) during the Occupy Central/Yellow Umbrella movement. We examined emotional valence, arousal, and dominance characterizations in 1,180 news articles via a multilevel, multivariate outcome regression and critical discourse analysis. The findings reveal that emotional sentiments associated with students and protesters in SCMP were generally more positive than in CD but that this was reversed for the police and the government. Whereas SCMP deployed personal stories to construct a humanized image of protesters and students, CD relied on expert authority, rhetorical questions, and imagined scenarios to convey empathy towards Hong Kong residents, creating a villainized image of protesters. Our mixed-methods approach reveals how SCMP and CD portrayed students differently via the discursive frames of “optimistic dreamers” and “powerless scapegoats,” respectively. Copyright © 2021 John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-116
JournalJournal of Language and Politics
Volume21
Issue number1
Early online dateSep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Citation

Ho, J., & Chiu, M. M. (2022). Media portrayals of the Hong Kong Occupy Central Movement’s social actors: Multilevel and critical discourse analysis. Journal of Language and Politics, 21(1), 81-116. doi: 10.1075/jlp.20030.ho

Keywords

  • Critical discourse analysis
  • News media
  • Hong Kong
  • Occupy Central
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Social actors

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