What Is Most Important for My Country Is Not Most Important for Me: Agenda-Setting Effects in China

Guoliang Zhang, Guosong Shao, Nicholas David Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Employing a public opinion survey and a content analysis of local media, this study sets out to examine of the agenda-setting effect in China. China is highlighted in this study because it is a collectivist, socialist nation whose mainstream media is largely controlled by the state. Data from this study reveal that (a) Chinese people make clear distinctions between issues of personal importance (their personal agenda) and issues of national importance (their social agenda) and (b) the agenda-setting function of Chinese media was only observed when considering one's social agenda; the personal agenda was not related with the Chinese media agenda. These findings hold true when comparing across different demographic groups on variables such as age, education, news source, and one's ability to critically analyze news. This article contributes to agenda-setting scholarship by providing empirical evidence of agenda-setting effects in a political and media structure substantially different from the Western structures usually examined in such research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-678
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • agenda-setting
  • media agenda
  • public agenda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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