Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 603–618 | Cite as

Framing the Boundary of Sino-Japanese Conflicts in China’s Communication Sphere: a Content Analysis of the News Coverage of Japan and Sino-Japanese Controversies by the People’s Daily between 2001 and 2015

  • Tianru Guan


This study provides a longitudinal analysis of the news coverage on Japan and Sino-Japanese relations between 2001 and 2015 by China’s most influential official media, the People’s Daily, by drawing upon framing theory. The results of the content analysis demonstrated that most of the time the People’s Daily did not disseminate anti-Japanese content as around 70% of the article frames were not related to conflict between China and Japan. Furthermore, the People’s Daily framed the boundary of Sino-Japanese conflicts within the political arena while portraying other fields of bilateral relations as benign and cooperative. In addition to framing Sino-Japanese conflicts as politically oriented rather than full-scale, more importantly, the People’s Daily narrowed down the bilateral conflicts to an either-or choice between historical disagreements or controversies over contemporary interests, rather than a combination of these situations. This reduction suggested that the People’s Daily, as the dominant actor of framing Japan in China’s political communication space, attempted to de-radicalize the antagonistic sentiments towards Japan and stabilize Sino-Japanese relations.


Sino-Japanese relations The Chinese media The People’s Daily Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute The Yasukuni Shrine controversy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asia InstituteThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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