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The discursive reproduction of Chinese and Japanese national identities: Editorials and opinions of the East China Sea dispute in the China Daily and Daily Yomiuri
Unformatted Document Text:  News, identity and ideology 22 By analyzing the commentaries collectively and in sequence it is possible to identify recurring and shifting macrostructures over the course of the incident and common linguistic devices used by both newspapers. Three overall strategies of national identity construction and reproduction were identified and analyzed in detail. First, because of the underlying historical context of the sovereignty issue relating to the islands both newspapers necessarily engaged in the discursive perpetuation of collective memory. For the China Daily this meant reproducing the Chinese government’s use of the ‘history card’ by describing in great detail the historical context behind the claims on the islands. On the other hand, the Daily Yomiuri’s venture into the historical position of the islands is marked by vagueness and the use of euphemisms so as to avoid referencing its militaristic past. It follows the official view that the matter of sovereignty has been settled in accordance to international laws and therefore China has no legitimate claim to the islands. Second, in justifying the actions of the respective governments both newspapers used a variety of linguistic devices to engage in positive self-presentation and negative other- presentation. In particular, each newspaper accuses the opposing nation’s government and media for manipulating public opinion among its citizens - an ironic accusation since they are actively engaged in the very same discursive ‘manipulation’ themselves. Third, both newspapers engaged in the construction of the nation as ‘victims’ of a more powerful hegemonic power. For the China Daily it is the United States that is put forward as the underlying cause of strained Sino-Japanese relations, arguing that it is part of American strategy to undermine the prospects of a peaceful Asian region. For the Daily Yomiuri it is China that is using its hegemonic power through economic means to coerce other nations to its will and openly flouting international laws and conventions. These various strategies show to some extent the mutually constitutive aspects of discourse. Each newspaper produces

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 22
By analyzing the commentaries collectively and in sequence it is possible to identify 
recurring and shifting macrostructures over the course of the incident and common linguistic 
devices used by both newspapers. 
Three overall strategies of national identity construction and reproduction were 
identified and analyzed in detail. First, because of the underlying historical context of the 
sovereignty issue relating to the islands both newspapers necessarily engaged in the 
discursive perpetuation of collective memory. For the China Daily this meant reproducing the 
Chinese government’s use of the ‘history card’ by describing in great detail the historical 
context behind the claims on the islands. On the other hand, the Daily Yomiuri’s venture into 
the historical position of the islands is marked by vagueness and the use of euphemisms so as 
to avoid referencing its militaristic past. It follows the official view that the matter of 
sovereignty has been settled in accordance to international laws and therefore China has no 
legitimate claim to the islands.
Second, in justifying the actions of the respective governments both newspapers used 
a variety of linguistic devices to engage in positive self-presentation and negative other-
presentation. In particular, each newspaper accuses the opposing nation’s government and 
media for manipulating public opinion among its citizens - an ironic accusation since they are 
actively engaged in the very same discursive ‘manipulation’ themselves. Third, both 
newspapers engaged in the construction of the nation as ‘victims’ of a more powerful 
hegemonic power. For the China Daily it is the United States that is put forward as the 
underlying cause of strained Sino-Japanese relations, arguing that it is part of American 
strategy to undermine the prospects of a peaceful Asian region. For the Daily Yomiuri it is 
China that is using its hegemonic power through economic means to coerce other nations to 
its will and openly flouting international laws and conventions. These various strategies show 
to some extent the mutually constitutive aspects of discourse. Each newspaper produces 


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