Scholarly article on topic 'A Critical Analysis of Media Reports on China's Air Defense Identification Zone'

A Critical Analysis of Media Reports on China's Air Defense Identification Zone Academic research paper on "Languages and literature"

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Abstract of research paper on Languages and literature, author of scientific article — Zhide Hou

Abstract This study is based on the analysis and comparison of news articles about China's announcement of Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) through the three corpora built from English-language Chinese media, western media and Taiwanese media news reports. Applying this to the corpus linguistic technique of automated semantic tagging with a discourse-historical Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework, the article demonstrated how processes such as two-word concgrams, keywords, key semantic categories and relevant concordances analysis were able to identify representations of China's ADIZ as well as directing qualitative analysis. It further examined how ideology is reflected in this context via the media discourses in relation to China's ADIZ.

Academic research paper on topic "A Critical Analysis of Media Reports on China's Air Defense Identification Zone"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 198 (2015) 194 - 201

7th International Conference on Corpus Linguistics: Current Work in Corpus Linguistics: Working with Traditionally-conceived Corpora and Beyond (CILC 2015)

A Critical Analysis of Media Reports on China's Air Defense

Identification Zone

Zhide Hou*

Shenzhen Tourism College of Jinan University, China

Abstract

This study is based on the analysis and comparison of news articles about China's announcement of Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) through the three corpora built from English-language Chinese media, western media and Taiwanese media news reports. Applying this to the corpus linguistic technique of automated semantic tagging with a discourse-historical Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework, the article demonstrated how processes such as two-word concgrams, keywords, key semantic categories and relevant concordances analysis were able to identify representations of China's ADIZ as well as directing qualitative analysis. It further examined how ideology is reflected in this context via the media discourses in relation to China's ADIZ.

© 2015TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Universidad de Valladolid, Facultad de Comercio. Keywords: corpus linguistics; CDA; China; ADIZ; media discourse; ideology

1. Introduction

For the first time, China announced the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in November 2013. As an early-warning air defense concept, China's ADIZ is reported to tackling the complex security environment and guarding against potential air threats. Immediately following China's announcement, there spurred a burst of production in the media reports throughout the world. An important motivation of investigating and comparing the media representations on China's ADIZ is the already existed large electronic corpus. Making use of

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 189-3807-5097; fax: +86 755-2690-0506. E-mail address: zidhou@jnu.edu.cn

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Universidad de Valladolid, Facultad de Comercio. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.07.436

the rich source of data, this article adopted a 'corpus-driven' (Tognini-Bonelli, 2001) critical discourse analysis (CDA) to exploring and comparing how ideologies are reproduced and represented in Chinese, western and Taiwanese media. According to Fairclough (2001), media reports should play a pivotal role in the establishment and perpetuation of power relationships through disseminating and reinforcing dominant ideology. Critical studies of media discourse will help uncover the ideology and power relations on reports of China's ADIZ.

Corpus linguistics has been increasingly used in critical discourse studies to examine the discursive events of politics (Johnson at el., 2003; Prentice, 2010), religion (Salama, 2011) and refugees (Baker, 2008) uncovering the existence of language patterns and messages otherwise unobserved. The corpus-driven quantitative research will help to discover the secret of China's ADIZ.

As Garrett and Bell (1998, p.3) noted, "media use can tell us a great deal about social meanings and stereotypes projected through language and communication". Media plays an important role in providing us with rich resources about what is happening around the world in this information era. In line with the understanding of media discourse as a product of societal and institutional practice (Hakam, 2009), China's state-run English-language press can be described as both a product of society and a shaper of its discourse. While China's state-run English-language press can be politically and ideologically motivated, because news-editing rules are expected to conform to Chinese norms and values, and serve for the Chinese government under Communist Party of China (CPC).

Media discourse regarding China's establishment of ADIZ is also political discourse because they focus on the linguistic and discursive dimensions of political text and talk and on the political stance of discursive practice. According to van Dijk (1998), political discourse is a class of genres restricted by the social sphere, and particularly by the sphere of politics. It is the institutional type of discourse accompanying the political act in political context. The functions of political discourse to project and shape conceptions of the future and their ideological implications have long been recognized in scholarship of political and cultural theorists and critics (Dunmire, 2005, p.483). Critical studies of political discourse mainly aims at discovering the ideology and power relations in discourse. According to Hudson (1978), political "statements" do not represent cool, objective and comprehensive utterances but rather function as a screen, false scent and safe net designed to achieve political goals, create alliances and oppositions and present an image of national unity. In a same vein, Edelman (1988, p.104) insisted that "if there are no conflicts over meaning, the issue is not political, by definition". Dallmayr (1984) examined the role of language and language policy have played in developing the modern nation state and national identity. To truly understand political phenomena, Shapiro (1981, p.19) urges analysts to attend to the ways the discursive practices of describing, categorizing and evaluating render the "world of things" meaningful. In addition, Blommaert and Verschueren (1992, p.355) offered a "view from below" by examining conceptions of language ideology that manifest in newspaper coverage of ethnic conflict, separatist and other movements, and minority politics.

Taiwan, located to the southeast of China originally based in mainland China, is heavily laden with political ideological difference from that of communist China. Linguistic studies exploring ideological practices from Taiwanese media press can be found in Fang (2001) who examined how discourse features may be varied or manipulated in the construction of a version of political reality through analyzing civil unrest in South Africa in the 1980s reported in an official Taiwan and Chinese newspaper, revealing the press operated in the 'us versus them' framework when reporting news events. This study showed a systematic and critical strategy for analyzing and describing the linguistic units while taking into account the contexts in which the text is created. Kuo (2003) explored, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the quotation patterns of former Taiwanese "president" Chen Shui-bian's "one country on each side" statement in two ideologically opposed newspapers in Taiwan to find out the two newspapers differ significantly in their selection of quotation contents and quoted speakers and that the choice of quotation patterns is by no means objective or neutral and presentations of speech in the news tend to contain some degree of intervention of mediation.

While corpus investigations of media discourses related to China's establishment of ADIZ can contribute to identifying and comparing the differences in ideologies which must be displayed in media discourses in Chinese,

western and Taiwanese newspaper reports. Using corpus linguistics (CL) methodology to bolster CDA to make generalizations about typical language use demonstrates the value of combining CL and CDA. One salient advantage of corpus-based CDA is that analysts can go beyond single text and conveniently explore quantitative patterns of ideological meanings in a large number of texts before carrying out qualitative analysis. As O'Halloran (2010, p. 565) noted, "quantitative data mined from a corpus can usefully ground qualitative analysis and in so doing help to enhance methodological rigor".

2. Research Questions

Prompted by the theoretical and methodological problems in this particular context, the present study is going to discover how ideology is reflected via the media discourses in relation to China's ADIZ. Thus, the following general questions can be raised:

1. Is there any difference on media reports of China's ADIZ among Chinese, western and Taiwanese media? If so, what are the differences?

2. How did the western and Taiwanese media, compared to Chinese, perceive China's ADIZ?

3. Method

This study adopts the discourse-historical approach to CDA (Wodak and Meyer, 2009) which can be defined, briefly, as an analytical framework that sees discourse as social practice (i.e. discourse performs social actions), and examines the dialectal relationship between text, ideology and power. This particular approach is suitable for the present purpose because it "focuses on the field of politics" (Wodak and Meyer, 2009: 26), in which the topic of China's political announcement of ADIZ is situated. A discourse-historical analysis consists of the following three stages: (1) establish the main themes of a specific discourse; (2) investigate the discursive strategies used; and (3) examine the linguistic means and realizations of the discursive strategies (Reisigl and Wodak, 2009: 93).

To investigate the effectiveness of triangulation when comparing three corpora of media reports on China's announcement of ADIZ, and in line with the methodology to be used in this article, three corpora of data concerning media discourse reporting ADIZ from Chinese English-language, western and Taiwanese media press were complied. The Chinese and Taiwanese English-language newspaper articles were searched through the database Wise News by keying "ADIZ" or "China air zone", in the hope of capturing all the variations in which the topic of China's ADIZ may be referred to. The western newspaper articles were retrieved in the same way from the Newspaper database EBSCOhost. The criterion for selecting articles is that "China ADIZ" or "China air zone" has to be the primary topic of the article, that is, it has to appear in the title. This is done with a view to including only articles related to China's ADIZ are discussed as the major topic and to exclude texts in which the word ADIZ is mentioned only in passing. The English-language Chinese ADIZ corpus (CAC), consisting of 27,351 words, is the reference corpus of this paper, while the Taiwanese ADIZ corpus (TAC), consisting of 20,179 words and the western ADIZ corpus (WAC) consisting of 25,882 words, are the study corpus. Prominent newspapers such as China Daily, People's Daily, and Beijing Review are included in the CAC; the TAC includes Taipei Times, Taiwan News, and the China Post; Times, Sunday Times, USA Today, Washington Times, Washington Post, Toronto Star, The Economist and Financial Times are in WAC. The key comparisons involving the two study corpora (TAC and WAC) to the reference corpus (CAC) provided "a list of items of language use that occur significantly more or less in one corpus relative to another" (Baker, 2006:125).

Concgram 1.0 (Greaves, 2009) and Wmatrix (Rayson, 2001) are used as tools to retrieve respectively the most frequently occurring two-word concgrams and to extract the top keywords and key semantic categories. The function/grammatical words are excluded at the first step while retrieving the two-word concgrams because the focus is on 'lexical items' (Baker, 2006, p. 100). The second step is to use Wmatrix to extend the method for generating keywords and key semantic categories of the study corpora WAC and TAC by contrasting against the reference corpus CAC. The two study corpora will be very useful for my purpose since they will be likely to reveal

special features of discursive strategies in the WAC and TAC. The third step is to examine the concordances of the related two-word concgrams and keywords so as to uncover the linguistic realizations of discursive strategies in the Taiwanese and western media.

4. Discussion of findings

4.1. Establishing the key concepts/themes of the discourse

As the identification of keywords can indicate what a corpus is about, the 'aboutness' of a text or homogeneous corpus (Scott, 1999), the two-word concgrams among CAC, TAC and WAC offers "a first glimpse of the dominant theme and topic throughout the texts" (Cheng and Lam, 2013, p.180). The top ten most frequently occurring two-word concgrams below (Table 1), with the exclusion of function/grammatical words, tells the strong degree of similarity with the dominant theme on East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The most frequent two-word concgram China/sea in the three corpora indicated great concern on the theme of ADIZ in East China Sea, an area of possible territorial dispute. The noticeable difference of the three corpora is that the western corpus is strongly associated with China and Japan on the issue of ADIZ, while the Chinese corpus focused more on defense itself than on the relation between China and Japan; the Taiwanese corpus focused on the relation between China and Taiwan. These findings regarding the most frequent two-word concgrams in the three corpora indicated the western media perceptions of China's ADIZ from the interest of Japan, and Taiwanese perceptions of China's ADIZ are from the perspective of their own interests which may not agree with China's announcement of ADIZ.

Table 1. The top 10 most frequently occurring two-word concgrams in WAC, CAC and TAC

Rank Two-word concgrams in WAC Two-word concgrams in CAC Two-word concgrams in TAC

1 China/sea (145) China/sea (240) China/sea (175)

2 China/zone (121) ADIZ/China (196) ADIZ/China (148)

3 China/Japan (115) China/China's (177) China/east (125)

4 Air/zone (114) China/east (158) China/Taiwan (112)

5 China/its (95) Air/defense (133) China/China's (104)

6 Air/China (92) China/zone (126) Air/zone (100)

7 China/east (92) China/Japan (123) China/zone (98)

8 ADIZ/China (89) Air/zone (120) Air/defense (95)

9 China/south (81) China/south (115) east/sea (94)

10 China/over (74) China/its (114) China/defense (91)

Keywords act as a standard reference for normal frequencies of words that reveal something of the 'aboutness' of a particular corpus. For the purpose of this analysis, keywords and key semantic categories retrieved from the western corpus (WAC) and Taiwanese corpus (TAC) relative to the Chinese corpus (CAC) represented concepts or topics that are unusually prominent. The objective of the present article is to ascertain what concepts/themes are significant in the study corpora, so as to discover what different perceptions of western and Taiwanese media may have on China's ADIZ. The keywords below (Table 2) retrieved from Wmatrix are a list of those key items that occur significantly more in WAC and TAC relative to the CAC.

Table 2. The top 6 keywords of WAC and TAC when compared with CAC

Rank Keywords of Log-likelihood Keywords of Log-likelihood _WAC vs CAC_TAC vs CAC_

1 ADIZ 160.67 Taiwan 296.40

2 Defense 100.88 Ma 128.19

3 's 87.64 Diaoyutai 73.9

4 Beijing 42.37 Taiwans 40.70

5 Biden 41.10 Taipei 36.20

6 Senkaku 39.11 President 36.05

The most noticeable keywords of western corpus (WAC) relative to Chinese corpus (CAC) are "Beijing", "Biden" and "Senkaku", which changed the bilateral relation between China and Japan to the triangular relation among China, US, and Japan. The keywords also confirmed the numerous reports on American vice president Biden's visit to Japan and China because the air identification zone covered the disputed Japanese-controlled Senkaku, the Diaoyu Island in Chinese. The Taiwanese corpus (TAC) stressed the important role or position Taiwan might have played in ADIZ. Taiwanese "president" Ma Ying-jeou, as the political elite, is another keyword relative to the Chinese corpus, indicating Taiwanese government is very much concerned about China's announcement of ADIZ. Interestingly, another keyword 'Diaoyutai' is involved, indicating Taiwanese stance towards Diaoyu Island (it is called Diaoyutai in Taiwan) to which Chinese government reiterated as China's inherent territory since ancient times.

4.2. Identifying the discursive strategies of the discourse and their realizations

As with all the studies following the discourse-historical approach to CDA, the themes can then be used to examine the discursive strategies used which are "more or less intentional plan of practices...adopted to achieve a particular social, political, psychological or linguistic goal" (Reisigl and Wodak, 2009: 94; Prentice, 2010).

By viewing the linguistic realizations of each key semantic category and its keywords (Table 3), and reading concordance examples, one can critically build a picture on western and Taiwanese perceptions of China's announcement of ADIZ.

Table 3. Semantic categories and keywords in the WAC and TAC when compared with CAC

Rank Semantic categories of Keywords and Semantic categories of Keywords and

WAC vs CAC frequency TAC vs CAC frequency

1 No people Uninhabited (15) Kin Ma (85) , Mas (5)

2 Unlikely Disputed (48) Speech: communicative Said (246), response (32),

statement (24),

3 Moving, coming and Move (48), trip (14) Other proper names National (26), DPP (16),

going CAN (15)

4 Time: new and young New (99), newly (12) Participating Parties (15), meeting (15),

conference (5)

5 Information technology Analysts (17) Sailing, swimming, etc. Vessels (18), nautical

and computing (15), ships (9)

The above semantic categories and keywords (Table 3), together with the two-word concgrams (Table 1), retrieved from Wmatrix and Concgram respectively enabled the user to examine further the concordances of the concgram China/Japan, and the keyword move in the western corpus (WAC) and China/Taiwan and Ma/said in Taiwanese corpus (TAC) so as to discover the discursive strategies and their realizations which might be the possible reasons how and why the western and Taiwanese media look at China's establishment of ADIZ.

China and Japan are geographically separated by the East China Sea. The relationship between them has been strained at times by Japan's refusal to acknowledge its wartime past to the satisfaction of China. As one of the most frequently occurring two-word concgrams, the pattern China/Japan concerning China-Japan relation is the focus of attention from western media corpus (WAC) implied the tensions between China and Japan after China's

announcement of ADIZ. Such words as conflict, dispute, bad, imperil, crisis, struggle, protest, drubbing, confrontation, troublemaking, ignores, dangerous, aggressive, and surprise were used as frequent semantic prosody in the China/Japan concordance lines, indicated western newspaper on China's ADIZ announcement report from an unfavorable Sino-Japan relations.

Western media reports highlighting hostile relations between China and Japan because of China's establishment of ADIZ gave a strong signal of intervening Chinese domestic affairs. For example, beyond reassuring Japan, Biden, the American vice president, "rightly criticized' China for attempting to "unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea" with a policy that "raised regional tensions and increased the risk of an accident or miscalculation". Another noticeable key word frequently appeared in the concordance lines of the concgram China/Japan is Senkaku, an island China calls Diaoyu Island to which both China and Japan claim sovereignty. This largely confirmed the stereotypical and rather widespread view of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku as a part of Japan in an Anglo-American setting. The political and military power of US resulted in making indiscreet remarks or criticisms on and taking actions to the "regional peace" in East China Sea. For example, the US provoked China by deliberately flying two B-52 bombers over the troubled Diaoyu Islands, ignoring Beijing's new demands that flight plans for both military and civilian planes be submitted before takeoff.

On the contrary, the China/Japan pattern in the Chinese media corpus CAC has shown a favorable semantic prosody because the collocates are such words or expressions: avoid further damage, improvement, opportunity, cool the tensions, responsibility to work, controllable. For example, according to one Chinese scholar, "Biden's goals during the trip would be to cool the tensions between China and Japan over the ADIZ'. From the Chinese perspective, China's establishment of ADIZ is to "urge Japan to cut off all provocative words and deeds and to make concrete efforts for the improvement of China-Japan relations as well as peace of the East China Sea and its airspace". The different or even conflicting representations of the same issue were designed to achieve political goals. As Edelman (1988, p104) noted, "if there are no conflicts over meaning, the issue is not political, by definition".

The concordance output of the keyword move in the western media corpus WAC is another good illustration of tendency towards a unfavorable semantic prosody, realized in collocates such as destabilizing, unilateral, violation, aggressive, fears, tensions, denunciations, worrying, opposition, protest, risks, angrily, hinting at the prominent belief that China's move to the establishment of ADIZ should be accused and condemned. For example, saying that China's move "has prompted fears that an accident involving Chinese and Japanese aircraft in the area could quickly escalate into an armed conflict" implied the impending war between China and Japan. A point worth noting is the anger from both Japan and US saying China's move is "an attempt to change the status quo over the islands", confirmed the disputed Diaoyu Island is the great concern in the western media reports. The move description in the western media was in conflict with what China stated as a justified act to maintain the sovereignty and security of the China's territory and airspace, implying western media report was ideologically dependent. An examination of the move concordances from the Chinese media CAC confirmed China's move is "legitimate, normal, conform to the Charter of the United Nations and in line with international law and practice" which are positive and favorable in semantic prosody.

A comparison of the move concordances between the two corpora WAC and CAC identified the differences in the realization of ideology in media discourses. The sets of negative or unfavorable beliefs about the move of China's ADIZ are articulated in the western media as a rationalization or justification, but a legitimate and positive move in the Chinese media, implying the polarization between positive or rational Chinese representation and negative western representation on China's ADIZ when ideologies are mapped onto discourse.

The concordance lines of China/Taiwan in Taiwanese corpus apparently showed the negative and contradictory attitudes towards China's establishment of ADIZ. It has indicated that Taiwan regret over China's announcement of ADIZ, because they thought the identification zone overlapped with Taiwan's. The Taiwanese also worried the announcement might mislead the international community to have a false impression that Taiwan belongs to China.

The heated focus of China's ADIZ is that the zone includes the Diaoyu Island to which both Japan and Taiwan claimed its sovereignty, indicating the strategic importance of Diaoyu Island in east China Sea, but 'it is unrealistic for Taiwan to compete with China in terms of military expansion' (one concordance line reads), indicating the passive responses and compromise from Taiwanese.

The concordances of Ma/said is another important implication of Taiwanese perceptions of China's ADIZ. According to van Dijk (2001), "a central notion in most critical work on discourse is that of power, and more specifically the social power of groups or institutions" (p.354). Those groups who control most influential discourse, like what "president" Ma Ying-jeou said can represent what Taiwan was thinking about—the minds and actions of Taiwan to China's ADIZ. To investigate the quotation-related two-word concgram Ma/said, the expanded reading of concordances is needed. It was noticeable that 'president' Ma displayed his diplomatic strategies when facing the sudden and nonnegotiable unilateral announcement of ADIZ by China. Ma was greatly concerned with the disputed Diaoyu Island. When talking about China's ADIZ, Ma said the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US and Japan has played an important role in stabilizing Asia " and his government has been supportive of the treaty, implying Taiwan's political stance does not agree with the communist China. When come to the interest of Taiwan people, Ma said "the fishery agreement signed with Japan has reduced tension in the disputed waters around the Diaoyutais", indicating the advantage of Taiwan's cooperation with Japan in the disputed area in East China Sea. Meanwhile, Ma strengthened the existence of the ADIZ would not affect the ability of Taiwan's Armed Forces to conduct exercises, indicating his resolution to defend Taiwan's sovereignty in facing of China's ADIZ. Ma thought "China's ADIZ was not helpful to cross-Taiwan Strait relations", a good excuse for his government to express the negative attitudes towards China's ADIZ.

4. Conclusion

By conducting a corpus-driven CDA of China's establishment of ADIZ from both western and Taiwanese media reports relative to that of Chinese, this study has demonstrated how the two areas of linguistic enquiry can be effectively and fruitfully combined, and the great potential of using Concgram and Wmatrix. Through analyzing the most frequently occurring two-word concgram, keywords and key semantic categories, and especially the concordance outputs from both WAC and TAC as the study corpus relative to CAC, this study has shown the ideological triangulation of media reports on China's establishment of ADIZ.

The findings not only confirmed the conflicts between China and Japan on the issue of the disputed Diaoyu Island, but also identified the political power of US who always poked its nose into the issue. The negative representations in western media reports on the move of China's ADIZ are in conflict what China justified, but agree with the interest of American-dominant ideology and influence of political power of US in the world. The western media reports may mislead the world to understand the real move of China, because the dimensions of power and authority are implicit in a range of texts.

Meanwhile, the findings of the Taiwanese media reports to China's ADIZ supported the different political ideologies between Taiwan and China. However, the findings built on existing studies in three important ways. Firstly, Taiwan was greatly concerned about China's announcement of ADIZ because the disputed Diaoyu Island was included in the zone, which was a threat to the interest of Taiwan. Secondly, Taiwan government was very sensitive to this political issue and excused China's ADIZ as a stumbling block for the cross-Taiwan Strait relations. And thirdly, 'president' Ma's quotation-related remarks identified Taiwanese government to continuing its unfriendly position to China. These findings give insights into a critical understanding of Taiwanese media reports concerning cross-Taiwan Strait relations between China and Taiwan. All these findings showed the hegemonic position of CDA to media reports in the age of Big Data.

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