Investigating BBC’s and FT’s operations in China through comparison between their Chinese and English online news portals
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This study addresses the issue of overseas news production of foreign news media when they enter the market of the Mainland China. By making an in-depth investigation of BBC’s and the FT’s operations in China and comparing the news texts of the two news media’s Chinese online portals with that of their British online portals, differences in terms of narratives, semantics, plot emphasis, and ideologies are identified and analysed, thus revealing the cross-cultural behaviour patterns of the two prominent British news media in terms of balancing between British journalistic ideology and Chinese regulations, western journalistic style and Chinese readers’ tastes, and between moral standards and commercial profit. The four online portals are compared through three Chinese news events that took place in the year 2012: the downfall of Chinese high ranking official Bo Xilai; the large-scale anti-Japan protests in the summer of 2012; and Chinese writer Mo Yan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. The three news events covered the fields of politics, economy, society and culture. The investigating methods include quantitative analysis and framing analysis of the news reports on the three news events produced by the four online portals, translation study of the translated news reports of the four online portals and semi-structured interviews with journalists and editors of BBC Chinese and the FT. The central argument is that BBC and the FT act differently in China and in the UK so as to cater to local media markets on many aspects including journalistic practice, coverage of local news, and media policy. Such changes in some cases do not remain consistent with their claims to represent the same news media. Consequently, the Chinese branches of the two prominent British news media become neither a British journalistic ideology carrier nor a copycat of a Chinese native news producer but rather a mixture of both cultures.