China, beware

The leaders meet, the cities grow, the peasants are left behind
The Economist - October 2007

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2.0

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2.0

Viewer rating

2.88888888889

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Panel comments

1. Content
i. Symbols of significance
A peasant carrying a burden, and a red string.

ii. Area(s) in society that the symbols belong to
The symbol might belong to the areas of economy or society. The symbol is a Chinese peasant. It is difficult to judge which area does it belong to only based on the image of peasants. Peasants are often related to economy and society. In that case, the cover might be related to the areas of economy or society.

iii. Quantitative assessment
1 person—a Chinese peasant, 1 red line

2. Communication
i. Image/symbol(s) used to symbolize China
A Chinese peasant is used to symbolize China.

ii. Key connotations and denotations
That the Chinese peasant is in a dangerous situation because he is stepping on a steel wire. Moreover, the peasant wears modern clothes but his labor tools are quite out-of-date. It delivers the message that China's development pattern might have some problems.

iii. Interpretations of the key symbols, with focus on Chinese culture
According the the State Constitution of the People's Republic of China, article 1, China is "a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship". It is led by the working class and is an alliance of workers and peasants. Peasants in China in an ally of the leading class and their political status is very high. However, since China's reform and opening up, the peasants' living conditions have not improved as quickly as that of other classes. There are many reasons for this, for instance, the population of peasants in China is quite large and China's development pattern is facing some problems.
To some extent, the cover reflects the reality. First, Chinese peasants are in difficult circumstances. Second, the peasants are not in harmony with the general situation of development in China since the peasant on the cover wears modern clothes but his labor tools are quite out-of-date. Last, the future of Chinese peasants is unpredictable because the peasant on the cover goes toward the dark.

iv. Power relations in the image
-

v. Kind of communication
Unilateral communication in the image because only one person is on the cover.

vi . Nature of relation between “China” and "others"
Hostile.
The relation between “China” and others is hostile. The cover to some extent reveals the reality concerning Chinese peasants, yet the living conditions of Chinese peasants have improved remarkably since China's reform and opening up. The cover only displays the bad side of the image and the readers might believe that China is very backward and dangerous.

3. Additional comments
i. Images/colors, etc
From the cover, we can only see the peasant’s back. He is stepping on something that looks like a steel wire and it shows that Chinese peasants are in a dangerous situation. What’s more, the future of Chinese peasants is unpredictable because the man on the cover goes toward the dark.
The background color of the cover is black which often means negative, miserable and so on. The color of black emphasizes that Chinese peasants are in difficult condition. Meanwhile the "steel wire" is in red which has strongest visual effect, it can easily catch the attention of the readers and might make them become nervous.

ii. Group of images
The peasant on the cover is an ordinary Chinese person and we can only see his back instead of his face.

iii. Comment about supporting image
-

iv. Comments about heading
The headline of the cover is “China, beware” which strengthens the feeling of worrying about China. The picture explains the headline further. Peasants still account for the majority of the population in China. The problem concerning peasants are quite important in China. If it is handled improperly, it will affect development and stability of the whole nation.

4. Rating of cover image
Not open to dialogue
because we only can see the peasant's back.

5. Other comments

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Rating categories:
1. Hostile: An image that portrays China as impossible to have a dialogue with.
2. Not open to dialogue: An image that portrays China in a way where it is possible, but not likely, to have a dialogue.
3. Neutral: An image that does not say anything about the possibility for dialogue
4. Open to dialogue: An image that portrays China in a way where there is an openness to dialogue.
5. Very open to dialogue: An image that portrays China in a way where there is an active interest in a dialogue.