The Origins of the Modern Chinese Press: The Influence of the Protestant Missionary Press in Late Qing China, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Origins of the Modern Chinese Press

The Influence of the Protestant Missionary Press in Late Qing China, 1st Edition

By Xiantao Zhang


180 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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This book traces the emergence of the modern Chinese press from its origins in the western Christian missionary press in the late nineteenth century.

It shows how the western missionaries and their evangelical/educational newspapers changed the long-standing traditional practices, styles, content, print culture and printing technology of Chinese newspapers and, in the process, introduced some of the key ideas of western modernity which were to have a profound effect on Chinese society. Xiantao Zhang demonstrates how missionary publications reshaped print journalism, rather indirectly, from a centuries-long monopoly by the state - the Imperial press - into a pluralized, modernizing and frequently radical public journalism. She focuses in particular on the relationship between the missionaries and the class of ‘gentry scholars’ - literati and civil servants, educated via the traditional state examination system in the Confucian classics, who were the prime target readers of the missionary publications. This key group and the independent press they established at the end of the nineteenth century played a crucial role in shaping the ongoing struggle for a modern democratic media culture in China.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Press in Imperial China 2. The Emergence of the Modern Press in China 3. Wanguo Gongbao: High Point of the Missionary Press 4. The Rise of the Chinese Elite Press 5. The New Press and the Transition to Cultural Modernity 6. Missionaries’ Impact on Printing Technology 7. Modern Chinese Journalism and Confucian Dynamism 8. The Missionary Press and the Issue of Cultural Imperialism. Conclusion

About the Author

Xiantao Zhang is Research Fellow in the Institute for Cultural Analysis, Nottingham Trent University, UK. Previously a print and broadcast journalist in Beijing, she is currently researching issues in contemporary Chinese culture and media.

About the Series

Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars in the West and the East, on all aspects of media, culture and social change in Asia. New proposals are welcome, and should be sent in the first instance to the series editor, Stephanie Donald, at

Editorial Board:

Gregory N. Evon, University of New South Wales
Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology, Sydney
Michael Keane, Curtin University
Tania Lewis, RMIT University, Melbourne
Vera Mackie, University of Wollongong
Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales

Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Gary Rawnsley, Aberystwyth University
Ming-yeh Rawnsley, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Jo Tacchi, Loughborough University
Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney
Jing Wang, MIT
Ying Zhu, Hong Kong Baptist University



Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
HISTORY / Asia / China
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General