Simplified Chinese media highlights prospect of the Greater Bay Area more, data reveals

Media in Simplified Chinese are more inclined to report on the prospect of the Greater Bay Area than their counterparts in Traditional Chinese, data shows.

This phenomenon is discovered by comparing the 10 most used keywords in the headlines of over 1,300 news articles about the Greater Bay Area published in Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and English in two-week span from February 14 to 27. Results show that keywords relating to the prospect of the Bay Area plan such as “construction” (jianshe 建设), “economy” (jingji 经济) and “innovation” (chuangxin 创新) appeared more frequently in press in Simplified Chinese. Media in Traditional Chinese used terms like “Hongkongers” (gangren 港人) and “support” (zhichi 支持) more frequently instead.

Simplified Chinese is the official language of mainland China, while Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan still use Traditional Chinese today.

For English media, Silicon Valley—the tech hub that the Bay Area plan would rival to according to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam—was one among the top 10 list. But Chinese media had less mention of it.

All Chinese media featured the term “Outline (gangyao 綱要/纲要) prominently as Beijing released the Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area on February 18. The number of news articles about the Bay Area plan from all media also spiked on the same day.

The number of articles from Traditional Chinese media topped most of the time with around 48 articles per day. Simplified Chinese media published about 37 daily, while there were only 9 English articles on average every day.

Hong Kong media were the largest contributor of news relating to the Bay Area. The city’s public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong was the news outlet that published the most among Traditional Chinese media with over 260 articles—one-third of the total—within two weeks. Over 40% of the English articles about the Bay Area were from South China Morning Post alone, the city’s largest English paper.

The Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily, the biggest contributor within Simplified Chinese media, published around 100 articles in the same period.

The Greater Bay Area—proposed by Beijing in its thirteenth Five-Year Plan in 2016—is a development plan to build a megalopolis by integrating Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

Despite its ambition of becoming the world largest bay area, the plan has yet to receive full acceptance in Hong Kong. A survey last year found over half of the young respondents had no knowledge of the plan. Some also fear that the integration would endanger the city’s ‘One Country, Two System’ principle.

Implementation with R

This implementation is done with R and the News API.

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