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Between Hope and Despair: China's Struggle for Democracy and Modernization as Seen through US Media--The New York Times Coverage of China between 2002-2003
Unformatted Document Text:  24 Accompanying the transfer of power, the subtle change in political arena has indeed occurred and has been captured by The New York Times reporters. In a story titled “Chinese Freer to Speak and Read, but Not Act” (February 12, 2003), it was observed that “ideas that once could land someone in prison are acceptable commerce today.” The dissidents “have found outlets for their essays on overseas Web sites and have been cooperating with intellectuals at universities, where talk of multiparty democracy and free trade unions—ideas that would have meant jail time a decade ago—are now common cafeteria discussions.” Some dissidents are “quite acceptable, and more and more people are developing an interest in democracy.” "Longtime dissidents say they are finding new outlets for their work and new ways to live,” they believe “the system is changing, becoming more public and open.” In addition, new President Hu Jintao also signaled “he would tolerate more diversity in the state-controlled press, even criticizing outlets that routinely parrot the party line without producing fresh insights.” “ His apparent enthusiasm for more open debate led to a flurry of frank news stories and commentaries in the past several week, including many blunt calls for political reform” (March 19, 2003). The central frame of this discourse is that there is an increasing coexistence between hope, opportunities and challenge for the elimination of social disparities and for long expected and long-denied political reform. 6. The discourse of an artistic and cultural China This last discourse depicts a diversified social and cultural life of China with a pluralistic perspective. It mainly talks about art and culture, like Ha Jin’s novel, the films directed by Jiang Wen and Zhang Yang, Chinese artists’ experiments with avant-garde

Authors: Su, Weiqun.
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24
Accompanying the transfer of power, the subtle change in political arena has
indeed occurred and has been captured by The New York Times reporters. In a story titled
“Chinese Freer to Speak and Read, but Not Act” (February 12, 2003), it was observed
that “ideas that once could land someone in prison are acceptable commerce today.” The
dissidents “have found outlets for their essays on overseas Web sites and have been
cooperating with intellectuals at universities, where talk of multiparty democracy and free
trade unions—ideas that would have meant jail time a decade ago—are now common
cafeteria discussions.” Some dissidents are “quite acceptable, and more and more people
are developing an interest in democracy.” "Longtime dissidents say they are finding new
outlets for their work and new ways to live,” they believe “the system is changing,
becoming more public and open.” In addition, new President Hu Jintao also signaled “he
would tolerate more diversity in the state-controlled press, even criticizing outlets that
routinely parrot the party line without producing fresh insights.” “ His apparent
enthusiasm for more open debate led to a flurry of frank news stories and commentaries
in the past several week, including many blunt calls for political reform” (March 19,
2003).
The central frame of this discourse is that there is an increasing coexistence
between hope, opportunities and challenge for the elimination of social disparities and for
long expected and long-denied political reform.
6. The discourse of an artistic and cultural China
This last discourse depicts a diversified social and cultural life of China with a
pluralistic perspective. It mainly talks about art and culture, like Ha Jin’s novel, the films
directed by Jiang Wen and Zhang Yang, Chinese artists’ experiments with avant-garde


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