Engendering the Positive Image of the China Government through Flood Framing

  • Ning Li
  • Su-Hie Ting


The study investigated how the flood news in China is framed by the People’s Daily, an official newspaper of the Communist Party of China. The objectives of the study were to: (1) identify the frequency of thematic and episodic framing of flood events; (2) examine the frame dimensions used for framing flood events; and (3) determine the dominant valence of news articles on flood events. Altogether 180 articles on flood in the online People’s Daily (English edition) published from 1 January to 31 December 2023 were analysed. The results showed a dominance of the episodic frame (94.4%) compared to the thematic frame (5.6%). The main frame dimension is the attribution of responsibility but it is to highlight the capability of the government to take care of the people rather than to attribute blame for poor management. There was a dominance of positive valence (70.6%) compared to negative valence (26.1%) and neutral valence (3.3%). President Xi Jinping was portrayed as a “caring leader” and a “compassionate and hands-on leader” in dealing with the flood woes of the people.


Adekola, O., & Lamond, J. (2018). A media framing analysis of urban flooding in Nigeria: current narratives and implications for policy. Regional Environmental Change, 18, 1145-1159.
Baidu. (2024a). 2022年度中国邮政发行百强榜 [ Top 100 issued by China Post in 2022]. https://baike.baidu.com/starmap/view?nodeId=71260de1755c4dfc91d3131a&lemmaTitle=人民网&lemmaId=2842475&starMapFrom=lemma_starMap&fromModule=lemma_starMap
Baidu. (2024b). 2021中国经济传媒协会“新媒体影响力指数”前10 [2021 China Economic Media Association "New Media Influence Index" top 10]. https://baike.baidu.com/starmap/view?fromModule=starMap_recommend&lemmaId=2842475&lemmaTitle=人民网&nodeId=ec9f5e1cfff8d1a4d4d74a7d&starMapFrom=lemma_starMap
People’s Daily online. (2016). 从300万读者到3.5亿用户 人民日报社融合发展纪实 [ From 3 million readers to 350 million users People's Daily integrated development documentation]. http://www.xinhuanet.com/zgjx/2016-08/23/c_135626376.htm
Boukes, M. (2022). Episodic and thematic framing effects on the attribution of responsibility: The effects of personalized and contextualized news on perceptions of individual and political responsibility for causing the economic crisis. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 27(2), 374-395.
Carlan, A., & Ciocea, M. (2016). Media deliberation on intra-EU migration. A qualitative approach to framing based on rhetorical analysis. Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, 16(3), 73-87.
Correa, T. (2010). Framing Latinas: Hispanic women through the lenses of Spanish-language and English language news media. Journalism, 11(4), 425-443.
Cho, S., & Wang, Z. (2021). Towards media systems framework in Asia Chinese and Korean media on framing the initial COVID-19 pandemic. International Communication Gazette, 83(5), 474-496.
De Vreese, C. & Boomgaarden, H. (2003). Valenced news frames and public support for the EU. Communications, 28(4), 361-381.
De Vreese, C. H. (2005). News framing: Theory and typology. Information Design Journal & Document Design, 13(1), 51-62.
Devitt, C., & O’Neill, E. (2017). The framing of two major flood episodes in the Irish print news media: Implications for societal adaptation to living with flood risk. Public Understanding of Science, 26(7), 872-888.
Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 51-58.
Fu, K. W., Zhou, L., Zhang, Q., Chan, Y. Y., & Burkhart, F. (2012). Newspaper coverage of emergency response and government responsibility in domestic natural disasters: China-US and within-China comparisons. Health, Risk & Society, 14(1), 71-85.
Gabore, S. M. (2020). Western and Chinese media representation of Africa in COVID-19 news coverage. Asian Journal of Communication, 30(5), 299-316.
Giri, D., & Vats, A. (2018). Natural disasters in India: A comparative study of print media’s approach of top four English dailies’ coverage of Uttarakhand floods, 2013. Indian Journal of Public Administration, 64(1), 73-86.
Gross, K. (2008). Framing persuasive appeals: Episodic and thematic framing, emotional response, and policy opinion. Political Psychology, 29(2), 169-192.
Hoddie, M. (2006). Minorities in the official media: Determinants of state attention to ethnic minorities in the People's Republic of China. Harvard international journal of press/politics, 11(4), 3-21.
Iyengar, S. (1990). Framing responsibility for political issues: The case of poverty. Political Behavior, 12(1), 19-40.
Iyengar, S. (1994). Is anyone responsible?: How television frames political issues. University of Chicago Press.
Jahan, N., & Razib, M. H. (2023). Child Abusing News: Episodic and Thematic Media Framing Adapting the Children Act and UNICEF’s Principles in Bangladesh. Athens Journal of Mass Media & Communications, 9(2).
Liu, X., & Yang, Y. E. (2015). Examining China’s official media perception of the United States: A content analysis of People’s Daily coverage. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 20, 385-408.
Ng, E. (2022, April 3). Climate change: China suffered world’s second worst losses from floods in 2021, Swiss Re study shows. South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3172907/climate-change-china-suffered-worlds-second-worst-losses-floods-2021-swiss
Park, C. S. (2012, Sept 27–28). How the media frame political corruption: Episodic and thematic frame stories found in Illinois newspapers. Paper presented at the Ethics and Reform Symposium on Illinois Government, Chicago, Illinois. https://paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu/_common/documents/whats-in-the-water/water-illinois/park.pdf
Repnikova, M. (2017). Information management during crisis events: a case study of Beijing floods of 2012. Journal of Contemporary China, 26(107), 711-725.
Roney, C. M., Anziano, E., & Saralegui, M. E. (2022). Mud angels, mobilisation and the media How national and international print papers framed the 1966 Florence flood. Journalism, Media and Cultural Globalisation 2022. https://www.sba.unifi.it/upload/cdaf/Roney_Anziano_Elorza%20Saralegui_Mud%20angels_mobilisation%20and%20the%20media.pdf
Shi, S. (2023). China and the Internet: Using new media for development and social change. Rutgers University Press.
Semetko, H. A., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Framing European politics: A content analysis of press and television news. Journal of communication, 50(2), 93-109.
Shabbir, X. X. S. T. M. Biased or balanced? A study of British and Chinese newspaper coverage of climate change in the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Schuck, A. R. & De Vreese, C. H. (2006). Between risk and opportunity: News framing and its effects on public support for EU enlargement. European Journal of Communication, 21(1), 5-32.
Van Dijck, J. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. UK: Oxford University Press.
Wendorf Muhamad, J., & Yang, F. (2017). Framing autism: A content analysis of five major news frames in US-based newspapers. Journal of Health Communication, 22(3), 190-197.
Xu, B. (2016). Moral performance and cultural governance in China: The compassionate politics of disasters. The China Quarterly, 226, 407-430.
Zhang, C., Zhang, D., & Shao, H. L. (2023). The softening of Chinese digital propaganda: Evidence from the People’s Daily Weibo account during the pandemic. Frontiers Psychology, 14, Article 1049671.
Zhang, H. L. (2004). China: Flood Management. WMO/GWP Associated Programme on Flood Management. https://www.floodmanagement.info/publications/casestudies/cs_china_sum.pdf
How to Cite
LI, Ning; TING, Su-Hie. Engendering the Positive Image of the China Government through Flood Framing. Asian Journal of Research in Education and Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 209-221, june 2024. Available at: <https://myjms.mohe.gov.my/index.php/ajress/article/view/26860>. Date accessed: 26 july 2024.
English Section