Confucianism in the Chinese media: An analysis of the revolutionary history television drama in those Passionate days

Luzhou Li, Saskia Witteborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the relationship between revolutionary history television dramas and the social context in which these dramas are televised in China with In Those Passionate Days serving as an example. Specifically, the paper focuses on the construction of the hero in the drama and the ways in which audiences’ interpretations of the drama are indicative of a contemporary revival of Confucian values and practices in Chinese society. The audience is people born after 1980 as this generation is often related to a new generation in China that values independence and hedonism, unlike their parents. Based on a reception analysis of the 1980sgeneration viewers of the drama, the paper shows that In Those Passionate Days in the participants’ views is structured around the Confucian values of benevolence, qing, and filial piety-values the viewers also found desirable and practiced in their daily lives. The study concludes with the view that the media is key to promoting historically grounded values and practices that legitimize the leadership of the state and provide a moral code for social relationships in contemporary China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-177
Number of pages18
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Confucianism
  • Hero
  • Ideology
  • Reception Analysis
  • Television drama

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