Reading between the lines

How frame analysis reveals changes in policy priorities

Authored by: Sabine Mokry

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Studies

Print publication date:  May  2021
Online publication date:  May  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367181390
eBook ISBN: 9780429059704
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter shows how researchers can apply frame analysis to detect the Chinese government’s policy priorities in official documents. Many of the Chinese policy documents are accessible to researchers. However, due to the vague jargon the Chinese government uses to describe its work, one cannot simply read the documents it issues to grasp what it prioritizes. After conceptualizing frames as the result of framing, the chapter offers a step-by-step guide for identifying and examining frames. To illustrate the technique’s potential, it examines how the Chinese government’s policy priorities changed in education, health, and foreign policy as expressed through frames in some of the most authoritative statements in the Chinese system, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary’s reports to Party congress and the annual government work report, over the course of the past 15 years.

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