Soft Power in the Living Room: A Survey of Television Drama in CCTV's Foreign Language Channels
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In China’s quest for soft power, serialized TV drama, animation, and cinema are the top three cultural industries on which the Chinese government is betting to influence attitudes and perceptions overseas. But despite its prominence, television entertainment is largely absent from studies on Chinese soft power. This chapter contributes to addressing this gap by presenting the results of a content analysis of over 170 television drama series (dianshiju) broadcast on four of China Central Television’s (CCTV’s) foreign-language channels between 2004 and 2015. By analyzing the genre, theme, time of action, and location of the limited selection of television shows made available through these channels, the author seeks to understand how, through the narrative of fiction, China’s public broadcaster contributes to building an officially sanctioned Chinese narrative on contemporary Chinese society for global audiences.