Same events, two stories: Comparing the photographic coverage of the 2008 anti-China/olympics demonstrations in Chinese and US newspapers

Ying Huang, Shahira Fahmy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


A content analysis of photos from four major US newspapers and four major Chinese newspapers depicting the 2008 anti-China/Olympics protests revealed significantly different denoted themes. On one hand, the most prominent dominant visual theme in US newspapers was suppression followed by pro-Tibet demonstrations. On the other hand, in Chinese newspapers the most dominant visual theme was the Olympic torch relay followed by riots and restoring order. Overall, the US dailies visually portrayed a more pro-Tibetan independence slant and the Chinese dailies visually portrayed a more pro-Chinese government slant. Further, the US newspapers portrayed the anti-China demonstrators as non-violent while the Chinese newspapers portrayed them as violent. To give their readers a sense of harmony, Chinese dailies limited the number of images showing anti-China protests, while the US dailies highlighted them, communicating to their readers the suppressive nature of the Chinese government and downplaying the voices of people who supported it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-752
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Communication Gazette
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • Chinese newspapers
  • Olympics demonstrations
  • US newspapers
  • visual coverage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this