The “India in the Chinese Media” project of the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore seeks to monitor the coverage of India and its neighbouring countries in the Chinese media. A beginning has been made with the press.

All items on India and these other countries published in five leading Chinese dailies and two official websites (listed in the link ‘Scope of the Project’ under the drop-box “About the Project” above) — both news reports and commentaries —  are featured here (in the data base below) in full in Chinese (fascimile from a hard copy of the newspaper), with their headline translated into English, the same morning as the date of publication of the original item.

Translations of full texts (of the news items/commentaries) are currently being undertaken only selectively, not of all articles, due to resource constraints. Those items that are translated (or summarised) in English have their headlines displayed in Block Capitals, to distinguish them from the others whose content is not translated. (Only the Chinese original will be displayed therefore upon clicking at the latter headlines that are not displayed not in Block Capitals.)

Add-on Service: In addition to the above, the data base below also includes commentaries on India and its neighbouring countries carried by three English language media platforms of China — Global Times, China Daily and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. (This ‘add-on’ service is subject, regrettably, to resource constraints, so is frequently interrupted, and not regular.)

These items are featured for reference purposes only — the Chinese media platforms in English are aimed at foreign audiences, unlike the contents of the Chinese language press (which are meant for domestic audiences, naturally), and so present a quite different picture of Chinese perceptions (from that one gets from the Chinese language press).  

Such items, from the English language media, are starred green to distinguish them from items taken from the Chinese press (which are starred red). Commentaries/news items that are carried in both English and Chinese are starred both green and red — green-red for those carried in the English language platform first and Chinese press later, and red-green for items carried in the Chinese press first and English language platforms later or the same day.

Those commentaries or news items that are published in both Chinese and English news platforms offer a more revealing glimpse into the minds of the Chinese media czars. For differences between the Chinese and English versions — both of omission or commission — are anything but random. The ‘tweaking’ that takes place through the omissions, commissions or other modifications in the two language editions reflects the fine tuning that is considered expedient to make their content more suited for their respective audiences — domestic Chinese or foreign ones abroad.

Translations of such items that are carried in the English language platforms as well are therefore invariably compared (by the project) with the corresponding English version. This is done through the strike-out/italics format — i.e. words/phrases/sentences in the English version which are not carried in the Chinese version are struck out (with a single ‘strike-through’ line), while words/phrases/sentences that figure in the Chinese version additionally (i.e. which do not figure in the English version) are displayed in italics. This format  thus enables a ready tallying of the Chinese and English versions of the commentaries and opinion pieces. The comparison is always instructive, and revealing of the considerations likely to have been prevailing in the minds of the editors as they tailor the contents of the two to their respective target audiences, within China or outside.  

A second ‘add-on’ to the above mentioned offerings of the project, added recently since January, 2018, is a selection of (English language) articles/official statements on China or Chinese policies (per se, i.e. not on India or its neighbouring countries) that merit attention. It is hoped that the overall perspective they provide (on strategic perceptions and thinking), their topicality (major political developments such as National People’s Congress, Party meetings etc.) and information content (on themes such as mega science in China, innovation, China’s progress in AI etc) would facilitate better understanding of developments in China. (This, again, is subject to resource constraints, so vulnerable to interruption.)

Other features of the project — its design, execution and output (the data base displayed in the Table of Contents below) — are explained in the write-ups listed in the drop-box “About the Project” above. Some of them, as e.g. the statistical data base and compendium of terminology, are in suspension currently due to paucity of resources.

The project thus aims at providing a ‘one-stop’ service for following the coverage of India and its neighbouring countries in the Chinese press in (near) real time. And also serving, eventually, as a ‘reading advisory’ as far as material emanating from the Chinese media goes. In keeping with the founding vision of NIAS, envisaging it as a national leader in pursuing ‘evidence based enquiry into national issues’  cutting across rigid boundaries between disciplines and methodologies, as appropriate for policy problems, so as not to lose relevance in the striving for rigour.

Feedback on any aspect of the project — from its conceptualisation and design to execution – would be most welcome.  Especially criticism and suggestions — specific alternatives — to correct and improve the quality of translations so as to better capture nuances.  (The scan/URL of the original text in Chinese is provided with that end in view – of open ended participation in the translation enterprise.) Likewise in respect of  any inadvertent omissions of news items and commentaries noticed by regular readers of the Chinese press.

2020, September

2020, August