5.1.1 Chinese Academic Representations of Pacific Island Countries
8:30 AM - 10:15 AM
Sat Feb 13, 2021
China has increased its engagement with Pacific Island countries in various fields like trade, aid and diplomacy and established itself as a major player in the region. However, Pacific Island countries still remain a blind spot for many Chinese people, and their perceptions of the countries are largely shaped by discourses produced by domestic authoritative groups. Limited research has examined China’s dominant discourses on Pacific Island countries. This paper seeks to fill this gap by providing a general picture of Chinese representations of Pacific Island countries in its mainstream academic discourses. In light of historical and contemporary representations of the Pacific Islands from the West, this paper mainly examines small state discourse, vulnerability discourse, deficit discourse, and discourse of agency in Chinese research articles on the Pacific published in 2019. Drawing on the frameworks of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this research identifies major topics of Chinese research articles on the Pacific, analyzes highlighted features of the countries in the texts, and explores the logic behind the representations. This study is useful for Chinese scholars to reexamine and reflect on the knowledge they construct about “others”. More importantly, Pacific peoples can have a sense of how they and their places are understood and represented by academic authorities in China and respond strategically.