China’s Green Campaign in Eco-images–The Conflicting Stories and Complex Realities

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2022)
Title: China’s Green Campaign in Eco-images–The Conflicting Stories and Complex Realities
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Shijie Luohe, Hong Kong Baptist University, China


This article looks into moving images produced against the background of China's ad hoc style of the national green campaign started in 2007. With the state's endorsement of disseminating green discourses, the eco-images, especially those endorsed by the state, are proliferating in our time full of environmental uncertainty and generating numerous contends about China's booming green terminologies. This article lays out three categories of eco-images: those produced by the central authority and by lower levels of government and eco-images without state endorsement. The eco-images produced at the highest level, also the most exposed kind, consistently promulgate and legitimize green terminologies while subtly engaging in blame-shifting. In contrast, eco-images produced by lower governments and media have to strategically deploy the limited discretion in responding to the central authority while visually codifying for the local implementers and further deflecting the blame away. At the bottom of the blame chain, the independently made eco-images acutely capture and discuss the hidden agenda of becoming reinvented Chinese for minority ethnics and city dwellers in the ongoing green campaign. The article argues that these eco-images have diverse agendas built in and constitute different responses to the ecological issues in China. Instead of corroborating which narrative is authentic, this research builds on the premise that "true but still conflicting stories can often be told about the same event (Kaplan 1986, 772)." Through the narratives produced by different production bodies, this paper hopes to provide a glimpse into the complex pathways of China's environmental policies in reality.

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