'Modernisation, Modernity and the Media in China' June 15th 16th , 2006

Venue: China Media Centre, University of Westminster

The China Media Centre(CMC) at University of Westminster invites proposals for papers and panel sessions for its 2006 conference on the theme of "Modernisation, Modernity and the Media in China".

This conference aims to tackle two major aspects of theoretical and practical concern in research on China and its media. First, it is concerned with the transformation of Chinese media as embedded in the 'modernisation' process of China. The second aspect is about the formulation and mediation of 'modernity' in Chinese media and intellectual discourses

China's development since the 1990s has brought the country unprecedented interdependence with the World in all aspects and the deep structural transformation of its society and media. Mediations and reformulations of 'modernity' in the Chinese media, political and intellectual discourses have been especially relevant and closely linked to this process.

In China, Western influence on local discussions of 'modernity' date back to the 19th century. The values of the European Enlightenment, modern science, reason and democracy, were assumed to be the core values of 'modernity' and were internalised by Chinese intellectuals to challenge the dominance of traditional Confucian thought.

In last two decades, the Western origins of the sprawling concept of 'modernity'- the nation-state, democracy, capitalist economy; industrialisation; urbanisation, emphasis on rationality, progress and individualism, and construction of cultural and social identities have experienced sharp criticisms from intellectuals in both the West and China. Both groups question the universality and superiority of Western thought, criticise the linear view of history implicit in Western 'modernity', and call for a rethinking of the search for modernity in transitional societies.

The media presents a dual role in this debate. On the one hand, the media articulates the public opinions on 'modernity' and its relationship with the Chinese nation and tradition. It disseminates the ideas what the 'modern' individual, organisation, culture, society and state are supposed to be. It mediates the public imaginations of 'modernity' through its texts, images and narratives. On the other hand, the media, as a social institution, embodies the cultural-political-economic conditions in the society and the characteristics of the societal modernisation process. These characteristics inform in the practices, structures and changes of the media and the messages it propagates

What kind(s) of modernit(ies) do Chinese media and society consume, create and perform today? How and why do these appropriations, formulations and mediations emerge ? Why do they assume the patterns which they do?

Amongst other prominent speakers, which will provide an insight analysis on a variety of issues from insiders' point of views, are


Professor Lin Min (University of Waikato, New Zealand)

the primary author of ' The Search of Modernity: Chinese Intellectuals and Cultural Discourse in the Post-Mao era'(1999) and the sole author of'Certainty as a Social Metaphor: a comparative study of the idea of certainty in the Western and Chinese philosophical tradition';


Professor Hu Zhengrong (Director of the National Center for Radio & TV Studies, Executive Dean of the Graduate School of the Communication University of China)

Professor Hu has published extensively on media policy and institutional transformation in both Chinese and English and served as policy advisor for various organisations. 

Dr. Zhang Zi (Deputy Director of the Centre for Development and Reform, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), Beijing) SARFT is the highest government body in China responsible for electronic media's regulation and broadcasting policy establishment. Dr. Zhang will give a presentation on the Chinese government's broadcasting regulation and policy.

Mr. Ou Nianzhong (Vice-President of the Southern Media Group, Guangdong)

Guangdong has China's most liberalised and internationalised TV market. The Southern Media Group is the biggest media group in the region. Mr. Ou will analyses the impacts of the landing of the transnational TV channels on the local TV market and how the local Guangdong media competes with the transnational channels.

For any enquiries, please contact the conference coordinator Ms. Yik Chan Chin via email: chiny@wmin.ac.uk, or phone: +44 (0)20 7911 5000 ext. 4882, or fax: +44 (0)20 7911 5943