Picturing a journey of protest or a journey of harmony? Comparing the visual framing of the 2008 Olympic torch relay in the US versus the Chinese press

Ying Huang, Shahira S Fahmy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


In examining details of the international journey of the 2008 Olympic torch relay in the US and Chinese press, results revealed that US photos emphasized the protest frame by showing unsupported visuals of the torch relay and focusing on human rights/Tibetan independence. The Chinese dailies, on the other hand, emphasized the success of the torch relay while focusing on the harmony frame. These frames reflected each country's news and societal values regarding the conflict under study, its policy towards Tibet, and its level of support for the Olympics in Beijing. In addition to these findings, the authors propose a framework of visual-textual consistency to access the relationship between visual and textual information. Therefore, this study not only adds to the body of work in visual communication by exploring the visual coverage of a controversial Olympic event in a cross-cultural context, offering a broader understanding of the intertwined relationship between media, conflict, and sports, but also contributes to framing theory by examining captions that build contrasting visual frames within a conflict setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalMedia, War and Conflict
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013



  • Chinese press
  • conflict
  • Olympics
  • Tibet
  • torch relay
  • visual framing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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