Construction of the Belt and Road Initiative in Chinese and American Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis Based on Self-Built Corpora

  •  Ya Xiao    
  •  Yue Li    
  •  Jie Hu    


The Belt and Road Initiative reflects China’s ascendance in the world arena. Since its inception, this initiative has received great attention from Chinese and American media. This study applies the critical discourse analysis (CDA) method to investigate the mainstream media construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Based on the “Lexis Advance” database, a sample of news reports dated between January, 2017 and November, 2018 were selected to build two corpora of China Daily (368 reports with 232 550 words) and The New York Times (154 reports with 106 401 words). Assisted by the two self-built corpora and the corpus software AntConc 3.2.4, the study probes into the similarities and differences between Chinese and American reports in terms of high-frequency words, collocation networks, concordance lines and concordance plots. The findings are (1) both the Chinese and American media pay great attention to the contribution of this initiative to the world economy. (2) Chinese media emphasize the concrete measures of this initiative, while American media focus on its political influence. (3) Chinese media use explicit positive vocabulary to appraise the achievement of this initiative, while American media use explicit negative vocabulary to express Trump administration’s skepticism about this initiative. (4) American government’s attitudes towards this initiative have gradually changed since Trump came to power. Though negative comments still exist, the positive voice has increased.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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