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Translating tension: Chinese-language media in Australia

Journalism Australia-China relations CALD Digital media News media China Australia

This report is one of the first to provide insight into the published content of Chinese-language media organisations in Australia. It examines the production and representation of news stories covering bilateral tensions between Australia and China during 2020, the perceived links between Chinese-language media and the Chinese Communist Party, and the potential of Chinese-language media to shape the views of Chinese-Australian communities. Based on content analysis of more than 500 articles across three Chinese-language news outlets and interviews with senior media professionals, this report presents three major findings.

  1. Chinese-language media outlets in Australia are more likely to implicitly support Australian government policy than Chinese government policy when reporting on Australia–China tensions, despite published content often being moderated to remove direct criticism of China and the Chinese government.
  2. The same media organisations predominantly translate and reproduce news articles sourced from Australian outlets, rather than producing original content.
  3. Interviews with Chinese-language media professionals in Australia reveal that the primary aim of translating content from Australian outlets is to assist Chinese migrants integrate into Australian society. However, self-censorship is involved in the news translation process as Chinese media professionals are concerned about the potential penalties that Beijing might impose on their employees, their families, and the revenue of their media organisation.
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