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Day 2 9:30 Panel 12

China's Diplomacy

Frankopan Hall

Li Jiaqi; Li Jing; Cao Ran; Elzbieta Pron

Li Jiaqi,

Nanyang Technological University, PhD Candidate

Polish a Mirror for the Chinese Envoy: Guo Songtao’s Diplomatic Diary in the West

For the late Imperial China, diplomatic diary was an indispensable genre in bridging the cultural gap between the East and the West in the 19th Century. Its importance depended on the writer’s identity as an empowered overseas mediator to collect and translate the Western knowledge for domestic readers. Guo Songtao (1818-1891) was appointed as the first Chinese Envoy to the Britain Empire (1876-1879). His political diary, Voyage to the West, not only depicted the thriving British colonization project, but also marginalized China within a new narrative of global competition. His writing triggering the domestic impeachment, was soon banned and destroyed after publication in 1877. Previous researchers study the event within the framework of Westernization and construct Guo as an empire traitor as well as modernization prophet. My research, however, will exam the event within a broader context, the Sino-British interaction history. By focusing on the neglected translation and dissemination movement of Guo’s diary in London, Hongkong and Shanghai (1877-1878), I argue that his diary was meanwhile perceived as a cultural mirror of China by the English-speaking communities. The differences of the three translation versions and their agendas in producing and transferring the Chinese knowledge will be explored. By comparing the Chinese and English different interpretations on the entries of the banned diary, the research will reveal the translation as one key factor in understanding the early Sino-British cultural conflicts.

Li Jing,

University College London, Year 2 PhD in Translation Studies

News Translation and Image-building of China

This paper attempts to situate news translation in China’s state media organizations in the broad context of soft power construction, and explores the ways that China builds its images through Chinese-to-English news translation, especially the characterization of its role in global community. Research on China’s soft power pursuit and image-building has examined cultural activities, tourism programme, promotions of Chinese language, financial aid and the role of Chinese companies and construction projects. This paper builds on linguistic properties research of news translation and extend enquiries to how the textual arrangements serve soft power aims. First, this paper probe into the journalistic translation education process to reveal the images that are expected to build and the political considerations of applying translation techniques through the instructions for translators. Second, this paper traces the images projected through selected English news in Xinhua News Agency, the official media of China, from 2013 to present. It involves a quantitative measurement of the news themes, materials, length and position of the website, which could be cues of importance of news topics assigned by media organization. Drawing on agenda-setting theory, the papers argues that Xinhua regulates the salience of topics by communicating these cues, the more coverage a theme receives, the more important it appears to be. The topics reflect the images it aims to build. Third, it identifies the translation patterns in the selected news through comparing the source text materials and the translation. The discussions of translation patterns and the ways they build images will be by the model of narrative approach to Translation Studies, composed of “temporal and spacial framing”, “labelling”, “repositioning of participants” and “selective appropriation of materials”. The paper presents an examination of the three levels and explores the connection of translation and soft power construction.

Cao Ran,

Durham University, LLM in International Law

This research focuses on the participation of the Chinese government and Chinese scholars in judicial practice of International Criminal Law (ICL). The ongoing part of this project is mainly about the activities of Chinese judges in ICL tribunals since China first appointed Judge Mei Ru-ao to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Tribunal) in 1946. The Tokyo Tribunal is seen as ‘an untold story’ or ‘a forgotten Nuremberg’ among western legal scholarships, which makes Judge Mei’s activities also forgotten by the world. However, now there has been other three Chinese Jurists appointed as Judges at international criminal tribunals; while compared to their colleagues from western countries, these Chinese judges’ activities as well as opinions are seldom noted by lawyers from both the West and the East. This study, based on doctrinal approach and interviews with these judges and their family members, finds that the reasons why their story is ‘untold’ are: 1) the negative perspectives of the Chinese government and Chinese society on the judges’ activities at ICL tribunals; 2) the personal difficulties for the judges from communist countries to be involved in a Eurocentric tribunal; 3) the gap of legal culture between the West and the East.

Elzbieta Pron,

University of Silesia (Poland)/Assistant Professor

China and international institutions – the changing role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in China’s foreign policy

This paper looks at international institutions in the course of China’s ascendancy in international politics. In particular, it examines how the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in China’s foreign policy has changed over time.
The SCO, set up in 2001 as a multilateral organization combining China, Russia and four Central Asian republics, until 2013 had been China’s main international institution to build its relations with the region. Through its multiple security, financial and cultural bodies, China had furthered its ties with Central Asia and promoted a congenial milieu for its various policy interests in the region. Through the SCO, the first international organization set up by China, Beijing has also attempted to develop its image of a regional institution-maker and norm-setter. In 2017, the SCO underwent a historical enlargement accepting two new member states – India and Pakistan. This enlargement not only change balance of power in the organization, but also imposed new responsibilities on it.
This paper examines how the role of SCO in China’s foreign policy has changed over time from the two main perspectives. The first is the relation between the SCO and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) economic programme set up in 2013; in particular – the BRI’s influence on the development of the SCO. The second perspective is the enlargement of the organization’s membership and its consequences for China’s foreign policy and international image projection through the SCO. The findings of this paper demonstrate that the both BRI and the SCO enlargement contributed to the positive assessment of the organization at the international forum. They also reveal that China’s use of the SCO in its regional policy has been changing from the practical one (guarantor of regional security and stability) to a more ideational one – a forum for region-wide political cooperation.

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