How China sees the world


The Economist - March 2009

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1. Content
i. Symbols of significance
It is a hand painted map combing Symbols of many areas and countries: China America, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, European countries, Latin America, African countries, and symbols of these places:
(1) China: the Tiananmen Square, imperial Palace, Chang’an Street, Hong Kong , Taiwan and spratly islands;
(2) America: the Statues of Liberty holding a banner “Please give generously?”; and shopping markets “For Closure sales”, and a rift valley named as “Wall Street”
(3) And what’s interesting, there are many places in this map plugged with the Chinese National Flag, for example, Taiwan. Taiwan has been a controversial international dispute. But here there is flag on Taiwan.

ii. Area(s) in society that the symbols belong to
(1) These places, including the Tiananmen Square, imperial Palace, Chang’an Street, Hong Kong , Taiwan and spratly islands, belong to the area of Politics.
(2) These symbols, including the Statues of Liberty holding a banner “Please give generously, and shopping markets “For Closure sales”, and a rift valley named as “Wall Street” ,belong to the area of commerce.
(3) Chinese national flag, which belongs to the area of politics, are seen in this cover---And what’s interesting, there are many places in this map plugged with the Chinese National Flag, for example, Taiwan. Taiwan has been a controversial international dispute. But here there is flag on Taiwan.

iii. Quantitative assessment
1 map.

2. Communication
i. Image/symbol(s) used to symbolize China
The Tiananmen square, imperial palace, and Chang’an Street and the Chinese national flag are used to symbolize China.

ii. Key connotations and denotations
This image shows a world map from Chinese’s perspective. In this image, the Tiananmen square and imperial palace, both the famous political figures, are used to symbolize China, means that China is still a country overshadowed by the old pattern of politics; the Chang’ an street, one of the most prosperous area of Beijing, means that China has developed; the statue of liberty holds a board which reads” please give”, which means that America has been considered by China as a poor country which needs financial aid; the houses for sale which mean that the real estate market of America is attracting more and more Chinese people; Prada and Hermes, the two famous fashion brands are used to symbolize Europe, which means that China considered Europe just as a place which provides luxury goods; the mining car in Latin America represents that China makes use of it to provide resource and energy; Taiwan with a Chinese national flag means that it has been conquered by the main land of China; Japan is so small which consists of three islands, which may mean that in Chinese perspective it is a belittled country. All these show that from Chinese perspective, the whole world is just inferior to it and all the other countries are providing their best things to it and they all have to obey it. It just reminds readers of England after the first industrial revolution.

iii. Interpretations of the key symbols, with focus on Chinese culture
In this image, China is showed as a country which is shallow and vulgar. It seems that China considered itself as a great savior to America even though America is one of the most developed countries; Europe, Latin America and Africa are just providers for it. The world map is showed from Chinese perspective and China is the center of this image, which may represents that China is so arrogant. But in fact, China is always trying to have a peaceful policy, it wants to develop friendly and reciprocal relations with the other countries. So this image would probably make many Chinese people feel misunderstood and annoyed.

iv. Power relations in the image
Unequal, because in this image China is showed as the center and all the world map is from Chinese perspective, which means that China is stronger and more powerful than the other countries.

v. Kind of communication
Multilateral, because this image shows the relations between china and the other areas of the world, including the America, Europe, Latin America and so on.

vi . Nature of relation between “China” and "others"
Hostile,
because in this image China is showed as a country which regards all the other countries as servers and holds the opinion that they should submit themselves to it by providing their resource and wealth with China, which may make readers feel annoyed and angry.

3. Additional comments
i. Images/colors, etc
The Tiananmen square, imperial palace, and the Chang’ an street in this image are bigger and clearer than the statue of liberty and other figures which represent the other countries, which may mean that the focus of the cover is China and China sees itself as a country stronger than the whole world. But the colures of the cover are so light and the lines are just like cartoon that give readers an unrealistic feeling, which may represents that this map is just an illusion, a false impression which only exist in China’s imagination.

ii. Group of images
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iii. Comment about supporting image
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iv. Comments about heading
The title is “how China sees the world”, which strengthen the meaning of the cover that from Chinese perspective, all the other countries are just its servers and China develops relations with them just in order to get their resource and benefit itself. The relations between china and the other countries are unequal and unfair. The title makes the meaning of the cover more clear and obvious.

4. Rating of cover image
Hostile,
because in this image China is showed as a country which treats other countries like colonies and leaves readers a bad and arrogant impression.

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.