Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Lecture | China Seminar

Legitimation and nationalism in official Chinese Television Documentaries

Wednesday 24 April 2024
LIAS China Seminar
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Huizinga 0.04


Since the early years of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), television documentaries have played a crucial role in promoting the political agenda of the Chinese Communist Party, disseminating the official ideology, and contributing to mass education as an integral part of the nation-building process. In today’s increasingly complex media landscape of the PRC, the political leadership still views documentaries as essential ‘propaganda’ (or ‘publicity’, 宣传) tools for communicating with the public and promoting dominant narratives.

This talk examines the role of contemporary official documentaries produced by China Central Television (CCTV) in cultivating political legitimacy and public consensus towards the Party-state. The analysis relies on the framework of legitimation in discourse and the symbolic functioning of ideology. An integrated approach to discourse analysis is adopted, which also accounts for the multimodal nature of the audio-visual products under scrutiny.


Chiara Bertulessi is a postdoctoral researcher in Chinese Studies at the University of Milan. She obtained her PhD from the University of Milan with a thesis in critical Chinese lexicography and authored a monograph analysing the Modern Chinese Dictionary (现代汉语词典) from this scholarly perspective. Her research and publications aim to investigate the interconnections between language, discourse, and ideology in the context of contemporary China, with particular reference to the areas of official political and media discourse, lexicography, and terminology.

This website uses cookies.  More information.