The Origins of the Modern Chinese Press

The Influence of the Protestant Missionary Press in Late Qing China

By Xiantao Zhang

© 2008 – Routledge

180 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415545402
pub: 2009-05-12
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415380669
pub: 2007-09-03
US Dollars$158.00

About the Book

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 Series

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.

Editorial Board:

  • Gregory N. Evon, University of New South Wales
  • Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Peter Horsfield, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • Chris Hudson, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • K.P. Jayasankar, Unit for Media and Communications, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay
  • Michael Keane, Queensland University of Technology
  • Tania Lewis, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • Vera Mackie, University of Melbourne
  • Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales
  • Jane Mills, University of New South Wales
  • Anjali Monteiro, Unit for Media and Communications, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay
  • Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Gary Rawnsley, Aberystwyth University
  • Ming-yeh Rawnsley, University of Leeds
  • Jo Tacchi, RMIT University, Mlebourne
  • Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney
  • Jing Wang, MIT
  • Ying Zhu, City University of New York

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
HISTORY / Asia / China