The “India in the Chinese Media” project of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore seeks to monitor the coverage of India and its neighbouring countries in the Chinese media. A beginning has been made with the press. (A brief account of the Chinese media scene pertinent to the project can be seen in the NIAS Working Paper No. 12 titled “The Chinese Media Scene — A Politico-Strategic Take on the State of Play”.)

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), with their headline translated into English. All important items/commentaries are translated — in full, as far as possible, else as a Summary — at the earliest, generally the same day. Such items (that are translated or summarised into English) have their headlines displayed in the data base below in Block Capitals, to distinguish them from the others which are not translated, to enable viewers to know that at a glance and save their time while surfing.

Add-on Services: In addition to the above, the data base below also includes commentaries on India and its neighbouring countries carried by the (online) Global Times, China Daily and other English language platforms of China. 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 what one gets from the Chinese language press) — one choreographed for foreign audiences, so far more free in their scope and content. than those published in the Chinese 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, be it on the same day.

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 Chinese 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.)

Comparative Featuring: Those commentaries or news items that are published in both Chinese and English news platforms offer a glimpse into the minds of the Chinese media establishment. 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. This is done for all items starred red-green or green-red.

Other features of the project — its design, execution and output (i.e. 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. This is in keeping with the founding vision of NIAS, mandating it to pursue ‘evidence based enquiry into national issues’  cutting across rigid boundaries between disciplines and methodologies, as appropriate for policy problems without losing 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.

[P.S. June-July 2020 — The project had to be suspended in March-April 2019 due to paucity of resources. It has been resumed recently at a minimal level — with just one newspaper (the Chinese edition of Global Times) monitored, not five, and only for items on India, not the neighbouring countries except on occasion. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites, in Chinese and English both, and the English language Global Times are also monitored for items on India. Plus commentaries on other topics of interest to students of China — on US-China relations, Taiwan, Tibet, other internal aspects of China’s economy, technology or politics — in all the above news platforms from time to time, occasionally, as permitted by resource constraints.

The project has been kept alive by gratis services of a dedicated band of volunteers. This is clearly not sustainable in the long run. It needs stable sources of funding to be put on a firm footing. Ideas for a viable business model capable of making it self-sustaining through a combination of donations and subscription charges are invited from readers.] 


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