CityU communication experts win top honours at international conference

Michael Gibb

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Three academics from the Department of English and Communication at
City University of Hong Kong have brought back top awards from the recent International Communication Association (ICA) annual

conference in Germany.

Professor (Chair) of Communication Lee Chin-chuan and Dr He Zhou, Associate Professor, won the Intercultural Communication Top Paper Award at the 56th annual conference of the ICA held in Dresden from 19 to 23 June. Their paper was entitled “Chinese Party Publicity Inc. Conglomerated: The Case of Shenzhen Press Group.”

“The award marks a major achievement for CityU’s communications experts,” Professor Lee said.

ICA is the primary academic association in the field of communication in the world with more than 3,500 members in 65 countries. Since 2003, ICA has been officially associated with the United Nations as a non-governmental association and publishes four major, peer-reviewed journals, Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Human Communication Research, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication - all top journals in the field.

The study on the Shenzhen Press Group forms part of an ongoing Competitive Earmarked Research Grant project, the aim of which is to analyze the regional pluralism of the Chinese media groups as China responds to the forces of globalization.

“Our paper analyzes the Shenzhen press group as a case of the Chinese Communist Party press in action. It shows a dynamic ‘tug of war’ in which the political forces collide and collude with economic forces to exert an uneven impact on the press. Through ethnographic observations, interviews, and the examination of documents, we have tried to compare the Shenzhen press before and after its conglomeration over a 10-year period,” Professor Lee said.

Dr He said the major contribution of their paper was twofold. “First, it proposes a model of media political economy that is culturally sensitive to explain the changing Chinese press. Second, it will lead to further comparison with media systems in other major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou,” he said.

Meanwhile Dr Mike Yao Zhengyu, Assistant Professor in the same Department, won the ICA’s Games Studies Top Three Paper Award with his co-authored paper entitled “Sexual priming, gender stereotyping, and likelihood to sexually harass: examining the effects of playing a sexually explicit video game”.

This study is one of the first empirical studies examining the effects of playing video games which contain explicit sexual content.

“The primary goal of this study was to investigate the tendency for sexual thoughts, increased accessibility of negative female stereotypes to be primed, and a behavioral tendency to engage in sexual harassment as a result of playing a sexually-explicit video game portraying women as sex objects,” said Dr Yao, who collaborated with scholars from Ohio State University and University of California, Santa Barbara, on this project.

“The results of the research suggest that men who play sexually explicit video games recognize words with sexual connotations and words describing women as sex objects more quickly than men under control conditions do,” Dr Yao said.

Men who played sexually explicit games also displayed an increased tendency to engage in sexual harassment compared to men who played non-sexual video games, he added.

Professor Lee heads up the Centre for Communication Research, which aims to assess the cutting-edge issues facing communication under the forces of technological convergence and media globalization in the Asian context.

Two major projects are underway: a survey on media and globalization, to be conducted in various cities of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taipei; and an investigation into cross-cultural press discourses on globalization including China, US, UK, South Korea, Australia, India, New Zealand, and Belgium.


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