HIV / AIDS, Health and the Media in China
HIV/AIDS is an increasingly serious problem in China, with an increasing number of new cases every year. As a result, HIV organizations have boomed, with both state and non-governmental organisations responding to the threat with campaigns to increase public awareness of the disease, utilising the media as the primary tool to reshape citizens' understandings and views of HIV/AIDS. This book explores how HIV/AIDS is portrayed in China's media. It argues that, despite increasing education campaigns, media coverage and social and academic openness towards HIV/AIDS, many Chinese of the majority Han ethnic group regard infection as a distant possibility, believing themselves to be immune and infection a problem only for certain non-Han ethnic groups with perceived lower moral standards, in particular black Africans. The book explores how HIV/AIDS is reported, analysing the language used in constructing and encoding the health narrative, its subjects, and ideas about the disease. It demonstrates how China's media frequently employs negative events to present the most extreme possibilities of poverty, danger, disasters and disease, with black Africa portrayed as an antiquated, distant and socioculturally and politically backward place, uniquely unsuitable for the containment of disease, in contrast with the progressive, scientifically sophisticated and morally upstanding Chinese. It argues that this discourse has had the effect of distancing many Chinese from the perceived possibility of infection, thus compromising the effectiveness of public health campaigns on HIV/AIDs. It suggests that the key to combating the spread of the disease lies in challenging the racialised narratives through which the disease is portrayed in China's media, rather than simply by aiming to educate greater numbers of people.