A national treasure becoming international

The collocate analysis shows that (‘overseas’) is a salient co-occurring item with TCM. Then, given the importance of the partnership between TCM and M WM and the national identity of TCM in China, it would be interesting to explore how the national media view TCM as an international subject. To study this point, a concordance analysis is conducted for two search items: ttt Jf- (‘world’) and SP/fi (‘international’). The hits for the two terms are 229 in total, 125 for 1Й# and 104 for [1!. The following four excerpts are representative examples of how TCM is constructed for its international status:

Excerpt 8:

(Chinese medicine and Chinese herbs are the great accomplishments achieved by the Chinese people in their thousands of years of fighting against different diseases. They are not just the valuable treasure of the Chinese culture, they are also the cultural cream of the people all over the world.)

Excerpt 9:

[j'J Jj й о (We have shared with them the translated version of our experience of clinical application of Chinese patent medicine and our observation reports. TCM belongs to the world more than to China. We are willing to share our experience and help them fight the pandemic. TCM would like to contribute to the health and wellbeing of people all over the world.)

Excerpt 10:

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(Represented by acupuncture, TCM is moving toward the world in big strides—TCM has been introduced into 183 countries and regions. The Chinese government has signed special TCM cooperation agreements with more than 40 foreign governments, international organizations and regional administrations.)

Excerpt 11:

м » м & ш я т ш m т ш %. ^ щ

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и'№Ё1,®Шо (In recent years, an array of TCM prescriptions have been well accepted by the American and European markets through specifying effective herb substances and establishing a standardized production chain. More international cooperation in TCM research is the only way to the internationalization of TCM. Many international experts also expressed that they are willing to cooperate with China.)

As indicated by the above four excerpts, the national media construct TCM as a cultural relic belonging both to China and to the world, and therefore it should make contributions to the wellbeing of the people all over the world. This shows the spirit of sharing in China’s communication with the world. For instance, Excerpt 9 is a quote in China Daily from Zhang Boli, the president of a popular TCM university in China. In his view, TCM belongs more to the world than to China. This can also be justified by Excerpts 10 and 11 which show that the Chinese government and the TCM institutions have been making great efforts to promote international cooperation between China and various countries and regions. In other words, TCM is constructed as both a national treasure and an international one, and China as the birthplace of TCM, is willing to share this national property with the world.

So far, the analyses and discussions have been focused on the linguistic features and their discursive functions in the media construction of the cultural image and values of TCM. As language choices are motivated by and constructive of the social and cultural systems (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004: 26-27), we shall seek explanations for these results from the social and cultural characteristics of modern China. The reason is that discourse is not only a linguistic and discursive practice, it is also a social practice (Fairclough, 1992). In the following section, the results of the above analyses will be interpreted by the social and cultural contexts in which the image and values of TCM are constructed.

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