The representation of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the Chinese media

Claire Heffernan*, Federica Misturelli, Kim Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In the early 2000s the threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza captured the attention of the world's media. While China is often considered the epicentre of the panzootic, few studies have explored coverage of this variant of avian flu in China. To address this issue, the authors examined the portrayal of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza across four Chinese newspapers at the local and national level. A textual analysis was performed on 160 articles across an eight-year period from 2001-2008. The study approach drew from Critical Discourse Analysis and Social Representation Theory. The headline analysis showed the extent that risk of the disease was subverted by the depiction of a strong and efficient 'China' that was a global leader in the fight against the disease. Ideological referents were called upon to stress teamwork in confronting the crisis. The diachronic analysis illustrated how the relationship between commercial interests, science and public health risks played out within the Chinese media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-620
Number of pages18
JournalHealth, Risk and Society
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Bird Flu
  • China
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • emerging diseases
  • H5N1
  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
  • risk


Dive into the research topics of 'The representation of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the Chinese media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this