How is Chengdu portrayed in the media? : Chinese vs Foreign

The Garden City plan of Chengdu was one that could be considered quite ambitious in what it aimed to achieve. When it was first brought up, it seemed like a great way of addressing the need for growing business and tourism in the area. However, while the statements and aims that the government provided were quite direct, the way in which this garden city plan was advertised within china in comparison to foreign countries was quite different. When looking at the propaganda that the Chinese media used to portray this new development plan we can take a look at these examples of their advertising techniques and how they are selling the idea to the Chengdu residents.

Advert of Chengdu future plan placed in existing Chengdu street, emphasizing the contrast between the two 
Another advert in China highlighting the abundance of greenery Chengdu will have in the future

Within China, only the positive impacts of this movement are being reported on news platforms, advertising how the entire movement is for the betterment of China as a nation, subsequently ignoring the existing conditions of the residents in Chengdu and how future developments will result in a lack of space for them in the future because of mass influx of people.

However, in comparison, we can see that western media outlets are more open to reporting on both the positive and negative impacts of this movement, which although may seem beneficial at a first glance, does create inconveniences for the residents. Many residents are being evicted or relocated in order to make way for the Tianfu Greenway and are not given many options due to overpowering authorities.

Foreign reports also address that while the idea may be quite successful, the execution of the project and its top-down approach compared to a bottom-up one negatively affects the Chengdu locals in while benefitting larger firms and businesses in the long run. It is clear that Chinese media manipulates locals into believing that it is for the good of the residents, however, there is an underlying agenda of not just becoming a national green city, but also one of the World’s best green cities in the ranks of other European areas such as London.

In western articles, the development plan is advertised as more metropolitan and large scale compared to in Chinese media. There is more focus on the buildings within the greenery rather than the nature itself like in Chinese adverts.
These types of advertisements are more attractive for businesses who want to migrate to a newer, greener environment. The “greenness” is still evident in this photo but is also made more attractive by its utopian appearance.

2 Comments on “How is Chengdu portrayed in the media? : Chinese vs Foreign

  1. The contrast is quite impressive and provoking from the perspective of Chinese and foreign media. The role of Chengdu residents was neglected in the China media, which further proved your narrative about top-down and bottom-up urban design. I really appreciate the way you analyze the pros and cons of the urban development through the report and pictures shown by different media. I also like the analysis under the picture that indicate different aims and understandings of China and foreign media. I think it can also relate to the government policies about urban design and what their attitudes towards future city.

  2. This Guardian investigative report was cited a number of times, especially the highly recognizable photograph. Would you consider coordinating with the others to avoid re-posting it 2 to 3 times?

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