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Western Media Headlines on China 2017-2021
Posted: 3 January, 2022

5 Years of China in Western Media - here is our comparison of the most frequently mentioned words/phrases (combining some words that point to the very same themes) in the 50,000+ Western media headlines about China from a select set of reasonably consistent sources for each of the past 5 years. The ones in red are the top-5 for each year. Nothing predictive, but it helps paint a picture of the history and the major themes. 

It's always been about the relationship with the US, 'Trump' (till 2020, but 'Biden' not so visibly in 2021) and trade, but also North Korea in 2017, Covid since 2020, and then Evergrande / developers and technology in 2021. And here are some words that appeared in 2021 but not in any of 2017-2020: Kaisa, Fantasia, clubhouse, metaverse. Some terms appeared before but are much more prominent in 2021: Didi, climate, and digital.

Applying sentiment calculations and its magnitude (emotional strength of the language) to the same headlines points at another interesting trend: media headlines were getting slightly more 'emotional' from 2017 to 2020, cooling off somewhat in 2021 - the charts below.

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