LRU News

Communications students meet with Chinese professor

Thu Mar 4 2010

The Internet is helping to expose the Chinese people to more foreign ideas, said Visiting Professor Cui Ping of China.

Her comments were made during a discussion with Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Communications Club. She was invited to speak to the group of communications majors about the differences between U.S. and Chinese media. She said she is not an expert in this subject. But she answered questions about Chinese culture, media and government.

Ping’s one-year stay in Hickory is being co-sponsored by Lenoir-Rhyne and Catawba Valley Community College. She is teaching Mandarin Chinese at the two schools and is also speaking to local groups about Chinese life and culture.

Access to foreign newspapers, magazines and television programming is restricted in China, she said. In China, the news media are considered the voice of the government. However, she said TV hosts are now more likely to ask tough questions of government officials than in the past.

Access to the Internet is widely available, and it has made many Chinese people more aware of ideas and attitudes outside their own country, she said. Although China has been historically cautious about contact with foreigners, that attitude is beginning to change.

Many people in China use the Internet in the same way as Americans. For example, she said she had a Facebook account before she came to the United States. Internet dating sites are also common in China. But most Chinese are still somewhat traditional and would rather talk to a prospective date on the phone first or have a family member arrange a meeting.

Older people and people living in rural areas are still more likely to get their news from a newspaper rather than the Internet, she said. Newspapers in the United States print more personal information, such as wedding and death announcements. Chinese newspapers do not contain that type of information.

Chinese newspapers are also more likely to emphasize official government reports than breaking news. For example, she said, the 9-11 attacks in the United States were headline news in most parts of the world. In China, the story was reported, but the lead story that day was about a Chinese government official meeting with a foreign delegation.

Television programming is varied and similar to what is found in the United States, with talk shows, games and reality TV being the most popular. Many different types of music, including American music, can be heard on Chinese radio stations.

However, she said American movies are “much, much better” than the movies produced in China. Although American movies are shown in China, some of them are heavily censored.

Most Chinese people watch movies on DVDs at home to save money. However, she has been told the Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar” is attracting large theater audiences because the movie’s 3-D effects can only be seen in theaters.

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