Discriminatory news discourse: Some Hong Kong data

John Flowerdew, Chor Shing David Li, Sarah Tran

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the discriminatory discursive practices of one leading liberal Hong Kong newspaper, the South China Morning Post, with a view to examining to what extent they mirror those found in the literature (which to date has focused primarily on Europe). The data for the study consist of 80 articles concerning one news event, Chinese Mainlanders claiming the right-of-abode in Hong Kong during the period 30 January 1999 to 19 August 2000. A review of the rather diffuse literature leads to the development of a composite taxonomy of discriminatory discursive practices. The Hong Kong data are then tested against this taxonomy. Examples of all of the strategies in the taxonomy are found to be present in the Hong Kong data, with certain local variations due to the particular situation of Hong Kong. The findings are all the more striking because the people who are the focus of the discrimination are from the same ethnic and linguistic background. In contrast to the news stories, a comparison with the editorials on the right-of-abode issue in the South China Morning Post reveals a much more liberal tone in the latter. This raises the question as to whether it is the news stories or the editorials that represent the true institutional ideology of this influential Hong Kong newspaper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-345
Number of pages27
JournalDiscourse and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Discriminatory discourse
  • Discriminatory practices
  • Discursive practices
  • Hong Kong
  • Ideology
  • Media discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

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