Media discourse of corporate social responsibility in China: a content analysis of newspapers Academic Article uri icon


  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in China is an issue of global concern. China's business sector has been facing criticisms both at home and abroad for its unsatisfactory records on environmental conservation, business transparency, labor conditions, and product safety. Even some multinational corporations are said to have lowered their ethical standards when they operate in China. Media are a major stakeholder in defining and promoting CSR, and media coverage of CSR sets the agendas for the public and, to some extent, for corporations, by raising awareness about CSR issues and selectively emphasizing certain aspects of CSR. Guided by theories of agenda setting, framing, and agenda building, this paper reports a content analysis of the CSR coverage in five leading Chinese newspapers in 2009 and shows that China's newspapers predominately define CSR as companies' responsibilities towards the community, employees, and customers. Furthermore, the country's leading newspapers have yet to play an active role in facilitating a social dialogue about CSR, as they often adopt an uncritical attitude and a celebratory tone in their CSR reporting and allow corporations and the government to dominate the journalistic discourse of CSR. 2012 Copyright AMIC/SCI-NTU.

published proceedings

  • Asian Journal of Communication

author list (cited authors)

  • Tang, L. u.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Tang, Lu

publication date

  • June 2012