Putin and XI Jinping Top the List
Media coverage of newsworthy personalities often reflects local concerns in the community. Over time they can also reveal developmental trends. The comparison of media reports on common personalities from different localities can disclose similarities and differences of social awareness and cultural orientations, and enables further exploration of the extent of shared values and seriousness of divergence among the populations. In the last 2 decades, there have been colossal and unpredictable changes in the world, especially in East Asia. The news media coverage of events in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have provided good indications of common social concerns in terms of foregrounded personalities and events. Furthermore, the often diverse accounts of the same personalities provide interesting information on the often contrastive, positive and negative connotations, which are revealing and invite further reflections. This year, as usual, we provide the Newsmaker Rosters for Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for 2022. We also provide a retrospective account on more than 200 media personalities who have appeared on the Rosters of the last 2 decades.
1. 2022 Annual LIVAC Newsmaker Rosters for Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
Table 1 shows the 18 individuals who are found on the 2022 Pan-Chinese Roster for all 3 cities. Amongst them 16 are political personalities. Dominated by those from China and America, they include some unusual new names, such as Ukraine President Zelenskyy since the beginning of the Russian-Ukraine war, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Pelosi, and the medal-winning Eurasian skier Eileen Feng Gu representing China in the Winter Olympic Games. City University of Hong Kong Emeritus Professor Benjamin T’sou pointed out that the 2022 Pan-Chinese Roster with 18 individuals has shown an unusual increase of 7 over the past year or an increase of more than 50%. This not only reflects an unusual increase in matters of common concern among these communities, but at the same time also points to considerable differences in the perception and handling of the underlying issues. The new figures include John LEE, HE Lifeng, Thomas Bach, Indonesian President Widodo, Philippine President Marcos, former President JIANG Zemin, as well as two spokespersons from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicating new thrusts in foreign relations.
President XI heads the Beijing Roster (Table 2) which shows a primary focus on politics. It is followed by former President JIANG, Premier LI, former Foreign Minister WANG Yi, Hong Kong’s John LEE, as well as the First Lady PENG Liyuan, and others.
The Hong Kong Roster (Table 3) is led by John LEE and Carrie LAM, who, as current and former Chief Executives, are unusually close in consecutive rankings, COVID specialists, and the world renowned football player Messi. Especially noteworthy are the House of Windsor’s King Charles III and his mother Queen Elizabeth II, whose presence signals Hong Kong’s remembrance of its past, but not at the expense of appreciation of its present and future because reports on President JIANG Zemin and his death rank higher. It is interesting to note that comparing Hong Kong with other former British colonies, Singapore, but not Malaysia, takes little notice of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Taiwan Roster (Table 4) is headed by President Tsai Ing-wen and includes five non-Chinese with 3 of them being Americans, and Chinese President XI Jinping. The remaining 18 individuals are mostly locals in an election year. Their concern for local matters is similar to that on the Mainland.
2. Two Decades of Newsmakers on the Pan-Chinese Rosters
205 names have appeared on the 2 decades of Pan-Chinese Rosters for a total of 422 times, and on the average 20 names each year. But the number varies greatly from year to year, ranging from 30 to 11 (Figure 1).
Figure 1. No. of Names on Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters in 2001-2021
Of the 10 leading names topping the list (Table 5) are: (1) President Putin of Russia has been on the Roster for 14 consecutive years, (2) Chinese President XI Jinping (12 years), (3) Former President HU Jintao (11 years), (4) Former President JIANG Zemin (8 years), and (5) Premier LI Keqiang (8 years). In the last two decades, they have taken on commanding roles on the political stage and have drawn considerable attention, reflecting the foremost importance of the Chinese leadership among the Pan-Chinese populations. At the same time, it is surprising that the Chinese basketball player (6) YAO Ming has appeared 9 years on the Roster, which almost matches the record of former President JIANG Zemin. Furthermore, American Former Presidents (7) Bush and (8) Obama have each appeared for 10 years and 9 years respectively. Then, comes (9) former Japanese Premier Abe and (10) North Korea’s KIM Jong-il (8 years). It is clear from these top names on the accumulative Pan-Chinese Rosters that politics has drawn the most attention. They come from China, then America, followed by Russia, Japan, and North Korea, altogether five countries.
We can broaden our scope to look at the wider stage and see on it 18 more individuals playing other important roles (Table 6). The majority are political figures, and other than President Biden and North Korea’s KIM Jong-il, the others have mostly left the political stage. They are China’s WEN Jiabao and ZHU Rongji, America’s Trump, Clinton, and Powell, Taiwan’s CHEN Shui-bian and LEE Teng-hui, Hong Kong’s TUNG Chee-hwa, Japan’s Koizumi, Britain’s Blair, France’s Chirac, Middle-East region’s Bin Laden, Iraq’s Saddam, and Palestine’s Arafat. It is worth noting that politics and religion have interacted in the cases of Bin Laden and the Dalai Lama, and that the Taiwan’s political stand is well recognized through its two former Presidents.
3. Number of names and its significance
The number of names on each year’s Roster reflects the common interest of the 3 different regions but not usually shared perceptions. They show that within the 2 decades, 2001 and 2004 have peaks of 27 to 30 names, while 2019, with only 11, has the smallest showing. There is overall gradual decline of common concerns among the three regions since 2013. The number of people on the Rosters has increased up to 18 for 2022, and while common concerns are on the rise, there are more serious divergent perceptions.
Two decades represent a long time on the world stage. Most figures on the Rosters have played flash-in-the-pan cameo roles. Of the 205 individuals only 75 of them have appeared at least twice on the Roster. They constitute 36.4% of the total, and 90% of them are in the politics, 9% in sports with only 1% in other areas.
Of these 75 individuals who have appeared at least twice on the Rosters, 22 of them come from China, 16 from America, 7 from Japan, 7 from Taiwan, and 4 from Korea. As noted, many of them have left the political stage. The exception is YAO Ming. His 9-year record is justified by his performance in sports as well as other activities. There are 6 other sport stars who have also appeared, though less frequently on the Rosters. They are LIU Xiang (4 years), LI Na (3 years), Jeremy LIN, Federer, WANG Zhizhi, and Phelps (2 years each). They reflect the consistent concerns and recognition of the Pan-Chinese populations for the principle of open and fair competition to be the basis for recognition.
In the area of entertainment, many popular figures have not entered the Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Roster for a number of reasons. For example, Andy LAU, Jay CHOU, Faye WONG, Show LO, ZHANG Ziyi, Jacky CHEUNG have high media exposure in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, and a considerable fan base in Mainland China. However, since official news coverage in Beijing pays less attention to the entertainment sector, they do not appear in the Pan-Chinese Rosters. There is similarity with the case of Chinese astronauts whose first solo appearance in space was in 2003 and whose first spectacular rendezvous in space took place in 2022. They have not appeared on the Pan-Chinese Rosters because they were quite well received only in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
Of the 75 names who have appeared at least twice on the Pan-Chinese Rosters only 8 are female. They are Carrie LAM, PARK Geun-hye, and LI Na (3 years each), and Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Yingluck, Teresa May, and GU Kailai (2 years each). Seven of them have made their marks on the political scene. Whether it be fame or notoriety, they represent exceptional achievement by the fairer sex. In the case of LI Na, it is based only on her exceptional performance in sports. Furthermore, of all the 130 personalities who have appeared only once on the Roster, only 15 are female. It is noticeable that among them only three individuals have appeared on the Rosters solely for their role as First Ladies: PENG Liyuan, SONG Mei-ling, and Suha (Palestine).
The LIVAC Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters were first launched at the City University of Hong Kong by Emeritus Professor Benjamin T’sou based on the LIVAC corpus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIVAC_Synchronous_Corpus). LIVAC is a news media corpus dynamically maintained since 1995. For more than 2 decades, it has regularly and concurrently drawn and analyzed data to determine linguistic and other developments on the basis of the printed Chinese media of major Chinese communities. By 2020, more than 700 million characters have been curated and analyzed and have yielded an expanding Pan-Chinese dictionary of 1.7 million words from the Pan-Chinese printed media. The LIVAC Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters are released annually since 2001. Researchers compile statistics on the news media coverage of newsmakers across Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taiwan annually and compile an annual LIVAC Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Roster for each region. The common newsmakers listed in all 3 regional Rosters are further compiled into the Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Roster. Furthermore, the corpus has also released the Pan-Chinese New Buzzword Roster annually since 2004. Both Rosters provide time capsules of the major events of the times and of snapshots of the Pan-Chinese region.
Professor Benjamin T’sou Ka-yin, Department of Linguistics and Translation, City University of Hong Kong (Tel: 4677 0367)
Table 2：2022 LIVAC Beijing Newsmaker Roster
|No||English Name||Chinese Name||Note|
|7||John Lee Ka-chiu||李家超||香港特首|
表三：2022 LIVAC Hong Kong Newsmaker Roster
|No||English Name||Chinese Name||Note|
|1||John Lee Ka-chiu||李家超||香港特首|
|2||Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor||林鄭月娥||香港前特首|
|11||Hins Cheung King Hin||張敬軒||香港男歌手|
|15||Paul Chan Mo-po||陳茂波||香港財政司司長|
|17||Gigi Leung Wing-kei||梁詠琪||香港女歌手|
|18||Eric Tsang Chi Wai||曾志偉||香港男藝人|
|21||David Hui Shu-cheong||許樹昌||香港政府專家顧問、中大呼吸系統科講座教授|
|22||Jeannie Chan Ying||陳瀅||香港女藝人|
|23||Queen Elizabeth II (& King Charles III)||伊利沙伯二世、查理斯三世||英國前女王(和英國新國王)|
Table 4：2022 LIVAC Taiwan Newsmaker Roster
Table 5：10 Top Ranking Names in 2 Decades of the Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters
Table 6：Top Ranking Names in 2 Decades of the Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters (11th to 28th)
|No||English Name||Chinese Name||Note|
|13||Tony Blair||布萊爾 (Hong Kong:「貝理雅」)||英國前首相，2007年5月辭職，6月離任|
|15||Donald Trump||特朗普 (Taiwan:「川普」)||美國前總統|
|16||Bill Clinton||克林頓 (Taiwan:「柯林頓」)||美國前總統|
|19||Osama bin Laden||拉登 (Taiwan:「賓拉登」)||中東富商、恐怖組織頭子，2011年5月被美軍殺死|
|21||Saddam Hussein||薩達姆 (Taiwan:「哈珊」)||伊拉克前總統，被美英聯軍推翻，2006年12月被問吊處死|
|25||Yasser Arafat||阿拉法特 (Hong Kong:「阿拉法」)||巴勒斯坦民族權力機構主席，2004年11月病逝|
|26||Colin Powell||鮑威爾 (Taiwan:「鮑爾」)||美國前國務卿，2021年10月病逝|
|28||Jacque Chirac||希拉克 (Taiwan:「席哈克」)||法國前總統，2019年9月病逝|