nl en

Chinese and Western journalists: a different approach


Admission requirements

There are no official entry requirements, but students are expected to take a keen interest in modern-day Chinese politics and society and to follow the news on China on a daily basis. They are expected to read both the international papers like the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the South China Morning Post, as well as the English-language Chinese papers like the China Daily, the People’s Daily and the Global Times.


This course consists of two elements. Firstly, it will offer students an insight in the fundamentally different conditions under which media work in China and in the West, in the reasons why this is so and in the resulting variety in reporting. The course approach will be topical. After a general introduction on (the history of) media in China and the West, students will be required to read prescribed articles on specific news-events and to write analyses of differences in views expressed in Western and Chinese media and the reasons behind it. Secondly, the course will offer practical, hands-on training in the attitude, skills and techniques needed to write a dependable, convincing and engaging journalistic article on China. This training will build up to the production of a news-related background-article aimed at a broad, non-scholarly audience interested in China.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following: – Better knowledge of Chinese politics and society and recent developments in China – The skills to recognize and analyze the underlying assumptions on which news reporters base themselves when reporting on China – Stronger writing skills – Stronger analytical skills – Stronger presentation skills


Check the departmental timetable

Mode of instruction

Seminar, with active participation of students in course work and discussions. Course language will be English, unless all students speak Dutch. Course material will be mainly English.

Assessment method

In order to pass this course, the following will be required of the participants: weekly, punctual attendance, weekly writing and presenting of shorter assignments and active participation in class: 50 %. Two final articles (app. 1500 words each) on a news-related event in China: 50 %

NB. It is not possible to write a BA-thesis with this course!



Reading list

The required reading material will be announced and distributed throughout the course.
The following books are recommended:
As a recent introduction about development in journalism and media in China:
Shirk, Susan L. (ed.) (2011), Changing media, Changing China, New York: Oxford University
For a practical introduction on journalistic skills:
Stein, M.L., Paterno, Susan F. and Burnett, Christopher (2006), Newswriter’s handbook. An introduction to journalism, Ames: Blackwell (2nd ed.)


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information