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‘CHOU GAGS CRITICS IN BANDOENG or how the media framed Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung Conference, 1955

Percival Wood, Sally 2009, ‘CHOU GAGS CRITICS IN BANDOENG or how the media framed Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung Conference, 1955, Modern Asian studies, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 1-27, doi: 10.1017/S0026749X09990382.

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Title ‘CHOU GAGS CRITICS IN BANDOENG or how the media framed Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung Conference, 1955
Author(s) Percival Wood, Sally
Journal name Modern Asian studies
Volume number 44
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 27
Total pages 27
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Place of publication [London, England]
Publication date 2009-11-30
ISSN 0026-749X
Summary At the Asian-African Conference at Bandung, Indonesia, in April 1955, the world's press concentrated its gaze on Premier Zhou Enlai of the People's Republic of China. Premier Zhou's every gesture, interaction and statement was scrutinized for evidence that his motivations at Bandung were antagonistic to Western interests. This preoccupation with the motivations of the Chinese was, however, no new phenomenon. By 1955, literary tropes of the ‘Yellow Peril’ had been firmly established in the Western imagination and, after 1949, almost seamlessly made their transition into fears of infiltrating communist Chinese ‘Reds’.

The first half of this paper explores the historical roots of the West's perceptions of the Chinese, through the literary works of Daniel Defoe to the pulp fiction of Sax Rohmer's Dr Fu Manchu series, which ran from 1917 to 1959. It then examines how this negative template was mobilised by the print media at the height of the Cold War to characterize Premier Zhou Enlai, not only as untrustworthy, but also as antagonistically anti-Western. This reading of representations of Premier Zhou at Bandung, as well as the literary tropes propagated in support of eighteenth and nineteenth-century imperial expansion, exposes a history of Western (mis)interpretations of China, and sheds light upon the media network's role in constructing a Chinese enemy in the mid-1950s.
Language eng
DOI 10.1017/S0026749X09990382
Field of Research 169903 Studies of Asian Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, Cambridge University Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of International and Political Studies
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Created: Thu, 04 Feb 2010, 15:20:13 EST by Gabrielle Lamb

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