How ‘public’ is communicated in China’s public diplomacy: communicating environmental justice in the case of air pollution in China
This study re-evaluates the media communications of the domestic public’s interests related to environmental justice in the case of China’s air pollution in China’s public diplomacy initiatives. It examines media representations of environmental justice by China’s state-sponsored China Daily, and compares them with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, and British and American mainstream newspapers. The examination starts from 2015, when Beijing issued the first ever red alert for air pollution, to 2018, when air pollution still haunted the country. This study finds that, besides the general policy schemes of smog mitigation, China Daily extended coverage to the general causes of smog and the domestic public’s detailed demands for smog mitigation. It mainly adopted a neutral tone in covering environmental justice. The obvious discrepancy in coverage patterns between China Daily and other news media appears in the tone of covering ‘adequacy’ in environmental justice, with the former being neutral and the latter adopting more critical voices. This study offers a better understanding of China’s evolving governmental stances in dealing with environmental justice issues in the case of air pollution.
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