Jack Liu


Content and Role of Chinese Newspapers in Australia



Chinese newspapers have a long history in Australia. The first Chinese newspaper emerged in 1856 in Victoria, which was the earliest bilingual (English/Chinese) newspaper worldwide, and the second earliest Chinese overseas newspaper and Australian diasporic newspaper.

Chinese newspapers offer a unique perspective in Australian media arena. Currently, there are 27 Chinese papers in Australia, including five dailies. All dailies are media syndicates, coming from Hong Kong, China or Taiwan. In addition, the Chinese language speakers become the second largest ethnic group only after the English speakers in Australia. This significant ethnicity of Australian Chinese provides an extensive arena for their newspapers. Although Australian Chinese newspapers are a significant topic, only four scholarly papers have addressed these newspapers before 1957.

This dissertation scrutinizes Australian Chinese newspapers by media role and political economic communication. Initially, the dissertation examined and classified four stages in the Chinese diaspora in Australia, following a comprehensive review on the four stages in the development of Australian Chinese newspapers. The dissertation shifted its focus to concentrate on the content and role of the contemporary dailies over the period 2006-2008 with a focus on news.

Survey, content analysis and case study methods were employed to explore five roles in these dailies (information, bridging, integration, political propaganda and local surveillance roles). Some significant results include that these dailies achieved an information role in all cases and the bridging, integration, and political propaganda roles in some situations, but they achieved a very limited local surveillance role. Additionally, a comparison between these four dailies and the leading Australian and mainland Chinese dailies showed that the insufficient local surveillance role is a salient disadvantage of Australian Chinese dailies. Finally, the dissertation examines the development of Australian Chinese newspapers by political economic communication. The political economic statuses of Australian Chinese and mainland China constituted two major factors on the evolution of Australian Chinese newspapers.