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The emergence of polyphony in Chinese television documentaries

Chu, Y. (2008) The emergence of polyphony in Chinese television documentaries. In: Sen, K. and Lee, T., (eds.) Political regimes and the media in Asia. Routledge, London, pp. 49-69.

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There is no doubt that in spite of a rapidly expanding market economy in China today, large portions of the population. especially among the peasantry. migrant workers, “working sisters” (dagong mei), laid-off workers and other disadvantaged groups. have been unable to significantly raise their living standards and participate meaningfully in decision-making (see Chapter 3 by Wanning Sun in this volume). Nor should it be surprising that the Chinese mass media, especially television, have not been able to do much to bring about radical changes in this respect. However, what is not supported by evidence available about the current state of’ the media in China is that the “authoritarian” and its cultural “technology of visuality” expresses “only narrow, elitist, corporate, and state interests” and so contributes to rather than alleviates the suffering of the underprivileged (Jhally 2002: 334). The current situation of the visual media in relation to social and political relations in China appears to be rather more complex in that television programming. production, ratings and policies are at present undergoing significant transformations that are beginning to impact upon viewing audiences in the millions. In this chapter, 1 argue that documentary films and programs in particular are a good indicator of such changes taking place in China’s vast television arena.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: The Author
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