Monthly Archives: November 2013

China Seminar 20 Nov: The Nanjing Government’s Propaganda

China Seminar 20 November 2013


The Nanjing Government’s Propaganda and Its Trans-National News Network


Shuge Wei, The Australian National University


When Chiang Kai-shek established the Nanjing government in 1928, the Republic of China was in many respects a weak country subjected to foreign powers. Japan’s invasion in the 1930s further challenged the territorial sovereignty of the nation. Without strong military and economic power, the Nanjing government only had limited means to withstand Japanese aggression. International propaganda was one of the strategies to win the support of Western powers for China’s resistance against Japan. Yet international propaganda had thus far been a privilege of powerful nations that could afford to build international news agencies and networks to transmit their views. For a nation without an international news agency, nor full sovereignty over cable transmissions within its own territory, how could China compete with Japan to make its case heard in the international world?


My presentation will challenge the perceived passivity of China’s international propaganda and trace China’s propaganda efforts in the English-language press from the establishment of the Nanjing government (1928) to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1941). It argues that English propaganda was an important means for the Nationalist government to resist Japan’s military aggression and to restore China’s sovereignty in the absence of a strong military and economic capacity. The development of China’s propaganda system was a transnational process, shaped in part by the treaty-port English-language press in China and facilitated by the cooperation between bilingual elites and propaganda officials.


Shuge Wei is currently a Research Fellow at the School of Culture History and Language at Australian National University. A communications studies scholar at heart, she studied China’s image in contemporary American movie (BA thesis); and a comparison between commercial and public media in the USA (MA thesis) before she turned to her attention to propaganda. She obtained her PhD in 2012 with the study entitled To Win the West: China’s Propaganda in English-Language Press, 1928–1941.


Location: Arsenaal 001, Leiden University

Time: 15:15-17.00 p.m.

This is the fifth lecture in the China Seminar series of this academic year.