Abstract

The image of China and the Chinese people in the Hungarian press, 1945–2000 How is China represented in the Hungarian press before and after 1989? How are the Chinese people depicted in the same periods? Newspaper articles will be analyzed by using qualitative methodology focusing on the major discourses that characterize each period. The most important findings are that before 1989 China is represented either as a friend or an enemy depending on the current political situation of the time – mainly its relationship to the Soviet Union. The Chinese people do not appear almost ever in any article. Besides China being a political friend or enemy, sometimes tribute is paid to the country in reports written by ambassadors or some political delegation members visiting the country. They all admire the exoticism of the place. The political changes of 1989 generate a completely new image. It is not the country any more that is represented but the people who come to live and work in the new Hungary. Two opposing images develop over the time: the loveable but naïve Chinese stranger and the menacing criminal stranger. The latter embodies all the fear that we feel as a result of the opening of the borders. Now we are exposed to the world, to the sometimes fearful effects of globalization. These strangers appear even scarier to us since in their media representation they are most of the time de-contextualized, the reader is not given any information or explanation as to their origin, the reasons why they have come, etc. The wider context of the Chinese economic and political transformation is not accounted for nor is globalzation.