University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Communications
  • Intranet

Prof. Xiaoling Zhang

Chair Professor in Creative Industry, School of International Communications

Xiaoling Zhang

Personal details


Room 212, Trent Building   

8818 0000 (8754)




Xiaoling Zhang has published widely on China’s media, culture and society, more recently focusing on the creative industry’s role in the nation’s attempt to refresh its image and to build its international soft power. She researches on the evolving policies, the development of the industries as part of China’s economic development, the cultural market, and the wider social transformation as China develops towards a creative society. She has succeeded in winning research grants from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Chiang-chin Guo Foundation, the British Council and the Chinese National Soft Science Fund. These projects not only enabled her to lead international collaboration of multidisciplinary scholars, but also to host international conferences, publish in internationally leading journals and book publishers.

Xiaoling Zhang welcomes PhD applicants to work with her in the area of her research interest. 

Expertise Summary

  1. The transformation of media and communication in all forms in China and its political, economic, and social implications;
  2. The evolving regulations and policies;
  3. Implications of 1 and 3 for the global flow and governance of information
  4. China’s global media and communication strategies, especially social media, as part of China’s public diplomacy efforts for projecting and generating its soft power

Teaching and learning


  • Global Media and Communications (convenor)
  • Hollywood and Chinese Cinema (co-convenor)
  • Chinese Cinema (convenor)
  • Researching Communications 1 (contributor)


Research Interests

  1. The transformation of the media and communication industry in the context of the wider social transformation in China.
  2. The political, economic, and social implications of this transformation for China
  3. The evolving regulations and policies regarding this industry in China
  4. Implications of 1 and 3 for the global flow and governance of information
  5. China’s global media and communication strategies, especially social media, as part of China’s public diplomacy efforts for projecting and generating its soft power

Xiaoling Zhang has won a grant to start her five year project on Creative Industries in Ningbo: the film and TV sector.  Funded by the Institute of Asian and Pacific Studies at UNNC, Xiaoling Zhang has also set up a multi-case project titled ‘Rising Powers and Public Diplomacy: the case of China’. This project brings together 20 odd scholars of multidisciplinary backgrounds and practitioners to address the following questions: what is China’s approach to public diplomacy in the 21st Century? What are the implications for the reconfiguration of the new world order? Based on multi-case studies on China’s public diplomacy actors, instruments and strategies, it aims to deepen insight into the evolving concept of public diplomacy and the current global balance of soft power. It will also contribute to the understanding of different models and issues of public diplomacy. An important departure from the Western “anchoring” that has hitherto characterized enquiry, it will advance the thesis that the rise of China and other parts of the world are changing the development of public diplomacy conceptualized in western countries. 



2011   Zhang, X. The Transformation of Political Communication in China: from Propaganda to Hegemony World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd.

Edited volume

2017   Bachelor, K & Zhang, X Building Images through Cultural Cooperation, Media Representation and Communication, Routledge (submitted at the end of 2016)

2016   Zhang, X. Wasserman, H. and Mano, W. (ed.) China's Soft Power in Africa: promotion and perceptions. Palgrave Macmillan.

2009   Zhang, X. and Zheng, Y, (ed.) China's Information and Communications Technology: Social changes and state responses. Routledge

Selected refereed journal articles in English

2018   Zhang, X., O’Brien, D., and Brown, M., “No CCP, No New China”, the China Quarterly, Volume 235, pp. 784-803,

2018 Chatfield, K & Zhang, X. “How Does the BBC Portray China? A Study of BBC Documentaries on China from 2007 to 2016 and its Implications”, China Journalism and Communication Journal

2017   G. Shaw & X. Zhang "Queer Documentary Filmmaking in a Digital China", China Information, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp.270 – 292, at

2017    Zhang, S & Zhang, X “Foreign correspondents: a case study of China in the digital and globalization age”, Journalism Studies Volume 19, 2018 Issue 12, pp. 1804-1824.

2017   Zhuang, M., Zhang, X & Morgan, S. “Contingent Participation: Media-citizen interaction in Wenzhou’s ‘Civil Monitory Organization’” Journal of Contemporary China, Issue 106, Vol 26, pp. 1 – 17.

2016   Zhang, X, Wasserman, H & Mano, W “China's expanding influence in Africa: projection, perception and prospects in Southern African countries”, Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research. 42(1), pp1-22

2013   Zhang, X “How Ready is China for a China-style World Order?: China's state media discourse under construction”. African Media Studies 34(3), 79-101

2012   Zhang, X “Hegemony and Counter-hegemony: the politics of dialects in TV programmes in China”, The Chinese Journal of Communication 5(3), 300 - 315

2011   Zhang, X "From Totalitarianism to Hegemony: the reconfiguration of the  party-state and the transformation of Chinese communication". Journal of Contemporary China, 20(68), 103 - 115.

2008   Zhang, X “The Death of Hero in China”, China Information 22(1), 119-137.

2008   Zhang, X “Internationalization and Chinese TV Drama Export”, TV Studies. 2, 100-115

2007   Zhang, X “Breaking news, media coverage and ‘citizen’s right to know’ in China”, Journal of Contemporary China. 16(53), 535-545

2007   Zhang, X “Seeking effective public space: Chinese media at the local level?China: an international journal. 5(1), 55-77

2007   Zhang, X  “Globalization of Chinese TV Drama: Challenges and Opportunities”,  Critical Studies in Television: Scholarly Studies in Small Screen Fictions. 2(2), 31-46

2006   Zhang, X “Reading between the headlines: SARS, Focus and TV current affairs programs in ChinaMedia, Culture & Society. 28(5), 715–737

2005   Zhang, X “Language, Identity and Communication among Chinese in the UK”, the Journal of Overseas Chinese. 1, 1 (MAY), pp. 110–120.

2002   Zhang, X “Them and Us in Shanghai Today” International Journal of Sociology of Language, Vol. 158, pp.141 – 162.

2001  Zhang, X “A Film Director's Criticism of Reform China: A Close Reading of Zhang Yimou's Not One Less”, China Information, Vol. XV, No. 2, pp131-139.

2001   Zhang, X "But are they talking their own language?" International Journal of Philology andLiterature, No. 24, pp119 – 140.

Book chapters in English

2017   “Media Construction of the African Image(s) for the Chinese Media Public”, in Batchelor, K and Zhang, X., eds.  China-Africa Relations: Building Imagesthrough Cultural Cooperation, Media Representation, and Communication, Routledge

2017   Zhang, X. and Guo Z. “The Effectiveness of the Overseas Chinese Cultural Centre in China’s Public Diplomacy” in Daya Kishan Thussu, Hugo de Burgh and Anbin Shi, 2017, edits. China’s Media Goes Global, Routledge. (eds.) China’s Media Goes Global, Routledge

2016   “A World of Shared Influence”, in Zhang, X. Wasserman, H. and Mano, W. (ed.) China's Soft Power in Africa: promotion and perception. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3 – 16.

2015   Zhang, X and Shaw, G “New Media, Emerging Middle Class and Environmental Health Movement in China”, in Hanspeter, K. Ed. Urban mobilizations and new media in contemporary China, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 101 – 116

2011   "The Mass Media". In  Zang, X Understanding Chinese Scoiety, Routledge

2010   “China’s International Broadcasting: The Case of CCTV International”. In: WANG, J, ed., Soft Power in China: Public Diplomacy through Communication Palgrave Macmillan. 57 - 71

2009   “From Propaganda to International Communication: China's Promotion of Soft Power in the Age of Information and Communication Technologies”. InZhang, X. and Zheng, Y. (eds.) China's Information and Communications Technology Revolution: social changes and state responses. Routledge, pp. 103 – 121

2009   Zheng, Y. and Zhang, X. “Introduction”. inZhang, X. and Zheng, Y. (Eds.) China's Information and Communications Technology Revolution: social changes and state responses. Routledge, pp. 1 – 16

2006   Song, L and Zhang, X. “The Entitled and the Un-entitled in China”, in Cai, F. and Zhang, Z. (eds.) The Labour Market in Transitional China, China Population Publishing House, pp. 168 – 188

Paper under review

Xiaoling Zhang & Tony Hong, “Rising Powers and Public Diplomacy: the case of China”, the European Journal of International Relations.

Journal articles in Chinese

2016   Guo, Z.,Yang, Y, Zhang, X. & Sun, L. “Research on Overseas Audience of BBC’s Documentaries”, Global Communications, 2016 (1), pp. 54 – 63.

2016   Guo, Z, Zhang, X. & Wang, J. “Reaching out to the World by Culture”, Media and Communication Studies, 2016 (2), pp.41 – 50.

2016   Guo, Z. & Zhang, X. “Strategies for the Development of Overseas Chinese Culture Centres in the Context of Confucius Institutes’ Challenges “, Journalism Evolution, 2016 (2), pp4 – 10.