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Grounded Theory on China's Population Policy Reporting by The New York Times

Hu, Chen
Committee Members: 
Dr. Mark Harmon
December 2016



The current thesis explores The New York Times’ coverage of China’s new population policy. On November 26, 2013, China updated its one-child policy to the selective one-child policy that allowed couples to have two children if one of the parents is single child. On October 30, 2016, China then erased the one-child policy, implementing the universal two-child policy that allowed all couples to raise two children. The New York Times, as an important western medium extensively covered China’s population policy.

This study collected 40 news articles from The New York Times, using grounded theory to explore the issues, the frame dominance, the speaker dominance and the frame preferences about China’s new population policy reporting. Compared with the study on the one-child policy reporting by U.S. elite media during 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, this thesis found a shift on frame preferences on China’s new population policy reporting. All U.S. Speakers, including U.S. professionals and U.S. media, became more focused on Implications Frames. All Chinese Speakers, except Chinese Civilians who focused on Effectiveness Frames, preferred to use Implications Frames, especially Economic Implications frame and Social Implications frame, to provide the information in The New York Times’ reporting.