The Chinese-language press in Australia: A preliminary scoping Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media International Australia, 2011, (138), pp. 137 - 148
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Despite clear evidence pointing to the centrality of the Chinese press in the historical formation of the Chinese community, and despite the continued importance of the Chinese-language press in the current political, cultural, social and economic life of the Chinese community, there is little understanding of its history and recent growth in mainstream English-language media scholarship. Worse still, the shift in recent scholarship to the power of cyberspace and other forms of new media in assisting the formations of diasporic subjectivities runs the risk of giving the impression that the print media are no longer relevant. Our article aims to address this blind spot by mapping out the contours of change and continuity within the Chineselanguage press in Australia. In the first part, we provide a brief historical account of the Chinese migrant communities in Australia, and the role of the press in their formation. We argue that this symbiotic relationship is crucial to understanding the development of the early Chinese-language print media in Australia, which was a less than hospitable society for the Chinese migrants. We then trace the development and evolution of the Chinese-language print media in a range of areas, including the Chinese-language media's current modus operandi, business strategies, cultural practices and ideological positioning, within the context of China's rise and the widening impact of China's promotion of soft power. We conclude by identifying some future directions in the research on the Chinese-language media in Australia, thus contributing to our understanding of some of the opportunities and challenges present in the (re)shaping of Australia's multicultural policies and politics.
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