Financial media, Globalisation, China's economic integration
This research aims to explore the narrative constructions of China’s economic convergence with the global market. Financial media form a crucial intersection between economics and politics, particularly in the realm of globalisation, in which the transnational capitalist elites extend material interests and social imaginations beyond national boundaries. As a major emerging economy, China has begun to establish its own narratives, with ideas of marketisation and globalisation given Chinese characteristics. The paper focuses on the ideological underpinning of financial media by comparing two magazines – the Economist and Caijing – selected from the Anglo-American and Chinese contexts respectively. It examines how these influential publications act as ideological producers to advocate and legitimise free-market liberalisation. A corpus of articles ranging from 1998 to 2008 was chosen to be analysed, focusing on major issues for China’s deepening participation in the global marketplace – e.g. entry to the WTO, overseas M&A/IPOs etc. The paper uses qualitative, quantitative content analysis and in-depth interviews with editors of the two magazines to explore answers to the following questions: What are the similarities and differences in the narrative of the constructions of China’s economic globalization as reported by the two magazines?; How is neoliberalism represented in the two publications? How do they cover the process of economic liberalisation in China under a communist regime?; How do the financial media, such as the Economist, portray China’s deepening participation in globalisation? How do their Chinese counterparts, operating under media censorship, practise journalistic professionalism? Despite the different socio-economic and political settings of the two magazines, the paper argues that they share similar characteristics - targeting an elite readership and thus playing an ideological role in advocating a market economy. While the Economist has been advocating free-market capitalism for two centuries, Caijing is in the very early stages, as China has only been experimenting with a market economy for just over two decades. The research emphasises the political nature of financial media, suggesting that the wider implication of reporting financial stories goes beyond information dissemination. It is also about legitimising not only a liberal market but also a liberal politics, an essential foundation for the free market. This domain of media studies has received relatively limited academic attention. The contesting discourses from the Anglo-American and Chinese cases will help to establish a South-North dialogue in the changing global economic and political order.