Yang Authors Book on U.S.-Sino Relations

Despite the U.S. and China’s shared economic and political interests, distrust between the nations persists. How does the United States rhetorically navigate its relationship with China in the midst of continued distrust?

A new book by Assistant Professor Michelle Murray Yangpursues this question by rhetorically analyzing U.S. news and political discourse concerning the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2010 U.S. midterm elections, the 2012 U.S. presidential election, and the 2014-2015 Chinese cyber espionage controversy. Entitled American Political Discourse on China, Yang's book finds that memory frames of China as the yellow peril and the red menace have combined to construct China as a threatening red peril. Red peril characterizations revive and revise yellow peril tropes of China as a moral, political, economic and military threat by imbuing them with anti-communist ideology. Tracing the origins, functions, and implications of the red peril, Yang's study illustrates how historical representations of the Chinese threat continue to limit understanding of U.S.-Sino relations by keeping the nations’ relationship mired in the past.

Xing Lu from DePaul University, says of Yang's book: "This book offers the most comprehensive coverage of four political and media events in the U.S. that constructed China as the red peril rooted in the yellow peril discourse in American history. The book is clearly written, thought-provoking, and timely. It sheds light on how Otherness is rhetorically constructed and how media portrayal shapes public opinions and foreign policies."
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