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Introduction

Weixiao Wei

After teaching English for 18 years in TYUT, I felt I had reached my exhaustion point, not physically but mentally. I desperately needed cutting-edge knowledge to refresh my brain and expand my horizons beyond the classroom. Therefore, I made a bold decision: applying for a Ph.D. in the U.S. which may give me an opportunity to pursue what I need and to answer many questions lingering in my mind. In the past few years, after a visit to Swansea University, UK in 2017-18, I expanded my research interests, put in a great deal of effort and started to publish book chapters and a monograph in translation studies, discourse analysis and language teaching. Gradually, however, 1 felt the limitation of the current research paradigm. For one thing, in the field of rhetorical studies, there is no established rhetorical model to account for the rhetoric in Chinese discourses; no appropriate analytical framework. How can we update outmoded research methodology and framework? How can we link theory and praxis efficiently when it comes to Chinese rhetoric and rhetorical analysis in general? And so on. After countless twists and turns, I decided to anchor my Ph.D. research in Rhetoric and Composition, a strong field in the American universities which I believe will offer good background knowledge and training for me to begin to answer these questions. After removing the obstacles in the application process one by one, two offers were obtained and one of them arrived on my birthday in 2020. These offers of teaching scholarships drummed up my interest in rhetoric and provided the aspiration and motivation to incubate this book. The ensuing preparatory work for studying rhetoric is the seed that grew into this book in your hand. 1 appreciate the heroic support from the general editor Chris Shei in the process of preparing the book proposal. 1 am also grateful to Dr. Qing Cao who offered a friendly hand when this book was in a fragile, embryonic stage. From editing this book, I hope to take one step forward in my academic career and one important leap for Chinese rhetoric.

This small volume has big messages. China's Contemporary Image and Rhetoric Practice presents an overview of Chinese diplomatic rhetoric, exploring how the image of China is depicted through a Western lens and introducing a profound shift in domestic perspectives of this image. This reader reveals new sites for Chinese rhetoric to deepen scholarship in the

2 Weixiao Wei relevant studies of Chinese literature, Chinese discourse analysis, Chinese sociology, Chinese politics and so on. These chapters have been cherry-picked for their contributions to the field, and may facilitate the expanding development of Chinese studies.

Through the scope of China’s partnerships, I-chieh Kuo and Weihao Huang in Chapter 1 offer highly detailed analysis of diplomacy documents from 151 partnership treaties. They comb through and accentuate the titles and contents using a text analysis technique that will spur a growing concern among scholars.

Damien Ng carries the second baton of this race to a news media perspective. Chapter 2 looks in greater depth at headlines about Sino-US trade disputes by applying CDA (critical discourse analysis). The results from Germany and France widen the existing research range in domestic settings. By so doing, a much more embracing Western perspective on China can be achieved.

Shasha Wang begins the next leg of itinerary in Chapter 3 by investigating the BBC documentary The Chinese Are Coming at both the macro and the micro levels. A solid conclusion on what and how images of China are depicted in Western media surfaces after her elaboration.

Qing Cao and Iris Lang in Chapter 4 situates his study in a broader social consciousness serving as a strut of people-making in contemporary China. A case study follows a wraparound scene of post-reform China and directs the rest of the chapter to answering three pivotal questions posed at the beginning. This chapter sheds light on additional insights into the connection between national prosperity and individual achievement.

Chapter 5, by Xiangdong Liu, contributes to research in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) by probing 75 articles from six national media. Xiangdong takes a constructionist viewpoint on TCM, foregrounds the discursive construction of it and finalizes an across-the-board conclusion on its image and values in shaping the image of China.

Chapter 6 spotlights a wide range of Covid-19-related extracts. The nub of this study is based on Matthiessen’s functional text typology containing eight primary types. Wang, Ma and Nartey center on the analysis from the perspectives of field, tenor and mode.

Chapter 7 sheds light on the incompletely explored area on Bian Zhilin whose cult status came about as a result of his pre-war poetry. Yang Zhou builds on research about the role of xiangchou and the backward-looking utopian notion by instantiating Bian’s poems, and makes a sizable contribution to the angst of Chinese cultural elites in the historical juncture between China and the West, tradition and progress.

Rhetoric pervades every niche of our life today. Weixiao in Chapter 8 first reviews the previous rhetoric study in the West by using CiteSpace (a scientometric analysis device). The hidden wisdom of Chinese rhetoric so far sidelined is unveiled by patriotic translators and this unfolding will continue beyond this chapter. This chapter creates a climate for further exploration on

Chinese rhetoric which hopefully will widen the research boundaries of rhetoric centering around Europeanism and will stake out new ground.

The trend of research in Chinese rhetoric needs more time to develop. Fortunately, the process has begun. Chinese rhetoric is worth taking time to explore with its rich history and intriguing nature. With this awareness, a colossal treasure will be discovered in time, as more and more research is conducted and published. This book is nothing short of an important beginning. As a missing piece of the rhetoric puzzle, all the contributions in this book make the effort worthwhile.

1 Does title or content matter?

 
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