How Hong Kong can change China


The Economist - June 1997

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1. Content
i. Symbols of significance
Tank, Person

ii. Area(s) in society that the symbols belong to
They belong to the area of politics, since the symbols predict the future of Hong Kong after the return to mainland China.

iii. Quantitative assessment
1 person, 1 tank

2. Communication
i. Image/symbol(s) used to symbolize China
The tank (with a red star) is used to symbolize China.

ii. Key connotations and denotations
The tank with the red star represents mainland China and the person holding the money and Justitia's scales represents Hong Kong. On the cover, the person seems to surrender to the tank and it means that Hong Kong needs to give up economy and justice after it returns to mainland China.

iii. Interpretations of the key symbols, with focus on Chinese culture
This cover was published right before Hong Kong's return to mainland China in July 1st, 1997, and the headline raised the question: how Hong Kong can change China? This question can represent the westerners' doubt concerning the future of Hong Kong after it's back to mainland China. From the perspective of westerners, the tank with the red star represents mainland China mostly because of their memory of Tiananmen square incident in 1989, and the person holding the money and the balance represents Hong Kong since it was the financial center in Asian Pacific area and it was famous for its fair and just judicial system. The cover displays the strong contrast between mainland China and Hong Kong, and it means concerning the relationship between mainland China and Hong Kong is unequal and mainland China is much more powerful. In this sense, the question means that westerners quite doubt about mainland China's policy of "one country, two systems".

iv. Power relations in the image
Unequal power relation.

v. Kind of communication
Bilateral.

vi . Nature of relation between “China” and "others"
Hostile, since the person representing Hong Kong on the cover is surrendering to the tank with the red star and it shows that mainland requires Hong Kong to give up its economy and judicial system with force.

3. Additional comments
i. Images/colors, etc
-

ii. Group of images
-

iii. Comment about supporting image
-

iv. Comments about heading
-

4. Rating of cover image
Hostile.

5. Additional 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.