A Big Database Approach to 2 Decades of LIVAC Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters

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.

Media enquiries:

Professor Benjamin T’sou Ka-yin, Department of Linguistics and Translation, City University of Hong Kong (Tel: 4677 0367)

NoEnglish NameChinese NameNote
1Xi Jinping習近平中共中央總書記,國家主席
2Joseph Biden拜登美國總統
3Wang Yi王毅中國中央外事辦主任,前外交部長
4Li Keqiang李克強中國國務院總理
5John Lee Ka-chiu李家超香港特首
6Vladimir Putin普京 (Taiwan:「普丁」)俄羅斯總統
7Volodymyr Zelenskyy澤連斯基 (Taiwan:「澤倫斯基」)烏克蘭總統
8He Lifeng何立峰中共中央政治局委員、全國政協副主席,國家發展和改革委員會主任
9Thomas Bach巴赫國際奧委會主席
10Joko Widodo佐科印尼總統
11Jiang Zemin江澤民前中共中央總書記,前國家主席,2022年11月病逝
12Cai Qi蔡奇中共中央政治局常委、中央書記處書記
13Rodrigo Duterte杜特爾特 (Taiwan:「杜特蒂」)菲律賓前總統
14Nancy Pelosi佩洛西 (Taiwan:「裴洛西」)前美國眾議院議長
15Eileen Feng Gu谷愛凌北京冬奧奪金的中美混血女選手
16Fumio Kishida岸田文雄日本首相
17Mao Ning毛寧中國外交部新任女發言人
18Hua Chunying華春瑩中國外交部部長助理兼新聞司司長

Table 2:2022 LIVAC Beijing Newsmaker Roster

NoEnglish NameChinese NameNote
1Xi Jinping習近平中共中央總書記,國家主席
2Jiang Zemin江澤民前中共中央總書記,前國家主席,2022年11月病逝
3Li Keqiang李克強中國國務院總理
4Wang Yi王毅中國中央外事辦主任,前外交部長
5Li Zhanshu栗戰書中共中央政治局常委
6Nancy Pelosi佩洛西前美國眾議院議長
7John Lee Ka-chiu李家超香港特首
8Hu Chunhua胡春華中國國務院副總理
9Wang Yang汪洋中央政治局常委、中國人民政治協商會議全國委員會主席
10Zhang Lan張瀾中國民主革命家、中國民主同盟首任主席
11Wang Wenbin汪文斌中國外交部新聞司副司長
12Han Zheng韓正中共中央政治局常委、國務院副總理
13Wang Huning王滬寧中共中央政治局常委、中央全面深化改革委員會辦公室主任
14Thomas Bach巴赫國際奧委會主席
15Mao Zedong毛澤東前中共中央委員會主席和前中共中央軍事委員會主席
16Yang Yin楊殷中國共產黨早期領導人
17Sun Chunlan孫春蘭中華人民共和國國務院副總理
18Wang Qishan王岐山中華人民共和國副主席
19António Guterres古特雷斯聯合國秘書長、葡萄牙前總理
20Peng Zhen彭真前全國人民代表大會常務委員會委員長
22Ding Xuexiang丁薛祥中共中央辦公廳主任、中共中央總書記辦公室主任、中央國家安全委員會辦公室主任
23Wang Guodong王國棟中國工程院院士,東北大學教授,中國著名的金屬壓力加工專家
24He Lifeng何立峰中共中央政治局委員、全國政協副主席,國家發展和改革委員會主任
25Peng Liyuan彭麗媛習近平夫人

表三:2022 LIVAC Hong Kong Newsmaker Roster

NoEnglish NameChinese NameNote
1John Lee Ka-chiu李家超香港特首
2Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor林鄭月娥香港前特首
3Xi Jinping習近平中共中央總書記,國家主席
4Joseph Biden拜登美國總統
5Vladimir Putin普京俄羅斯總統
6Donald Trump特朗普美國前總統
7Boris Johnson約翰遜英國前首相
8Nancy Pelosi佩洛西前美國眾議院議長
9Keung To姜濤香港男歌手
10Chuang Shuk-kwan張竹君衞生署衞生防護中心傳染病處主任
11Hins Cheung King Hin張敬軒香港男歌手
12Elon Musk馬斯克全球首富,企業家、商業大亨
13Lionel Messi美斯阿根廷足球員,2022年首次帶領阿根廷國家隊奪得世界盃冠軍
14Novak Djokovic祖高域塞爾維亞網球運動員
15Paul Chan Mo-po陳茂波香港財政司司長
16AU Ka-wing歐家榮衞生防護中心傳染病處首席醫生
17Gigi Leung Wing-kei梁詠琪香港女歌手
18Eric Tsang Chi Wai曾志偉香港男藝人
19Volodymyr Zelenskyy澤連斯基烏克蘭總統
20Jiang Zemin江澤民前中共中央總書記,前國家主席,2022年11月病逝
21David 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
22Jeannie Chan Ying陳瀅香港女藝人
23Queen 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)
24Emmanuel Macron馬克龍法國總統
25Li Keqiang李克強中國國務院總理

Table 4:2022 LIVAC Taiwan Newsmaker Roster

NoEnglish NameChinese NameNote
1Tsai Ing-wen蔡英文總統,民進黨前主席
2Chen Shih-Chung陳時中前衛福部長
3Joseph Biden拜登美國總統
4Lim Ti-kien林智堅前新竹市市長
5Chiang Wan-an蔣萬安台北市市長、蔣經國孫子
6Ko Wen-je柯文哲前台北市市長
7Xi Jinping習近平中共中央總書記,國家主席
8Eric Chu Li-luan朱立倫前新北市市長、國民黨主席
9Hou Yu-ih侯友宜新北市市長
10Huang Shan-shan黃珊珊前台北市議員
11Su Tseng-chang蘇貞昌行政院院長
12Nancy Pelosi裴洛西美國眾議院議長
13Lin Chia-lung林佳龍前台中市市長
14Lai Ching-te賴清德台灣副總統
15Vladimir Putin普丁俄羅斯總統
16Chang San-cheng張善政桃園市市長
17Lu Shiow-yen盧秀燕台中市市長
18Donald Trump川普美國前總統
19Cheng Wen-tsan鄭文燦前桃園市市長
20Volodymyr Zelenskyy澤倫斯基烏克蘭總統
21Ko Chih-en柯志恩前任立法委員
22Chen Ming-tong陳明通前任大陸委員會主任委員
23Cheng Yun-peng鄭運鵬立法委員
24Lo Chih-chiang羅智強國民黨台北市前議員
25Tai Tzu-ying 戴資穎女子羽毛球運動員、東京奧運羽毛球女子單打銀牌得主

Table 5:10 Top Ranking Names in 2 Decades of the Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters

NoEnglish NameChinese NameNote
1Vladimir Putin普京 (Taiwan:「普丁」)俄羅斯總統
2Xi Jinping習近平中共中央總書記,國家主席
3Hu Jintao胡錦濤前中共中央總書記、前國家主席
4George W. Bush布什 (Hong Kong:「小布殊」;Taiwan:「小布希」)美國前總統
5Barack Obama奧巴馬 (Taiwan:「歐巴馬」)美國前總統
6Yao Ming姚明籃球隊主將
7Jiang Zemin江澤民前中共中央總書記,前國家主席,2022年11月病逝
8Shinzo Abe安倍晉三日本前首相,2022年7月遇刺身亡
9Li Keqiang李克強中國國務院總理
10Kim Jong-il金正日朝鮮勞動黨中央總書記,2011年12月病逝

Table 6:Top Ranking Names in 2 Decades of the Pan-Chinese Newsmaker Rosters (11th to 28th)

NoEnglish NameChinese NameNote
11Chen Shui-bian陳水扁台灣前總統,涉貪污案被收押
12Wen Jiabao溫家寶國務院前總理
13Tony Blair布萊爾 (Hong Kong:「貝理雅」)英國前首相,2007年5月辭職,6月離任
14Koizumi Junichiro小泉純一郎日本前首相
15Donald Trump特朗普 (Taiwan:「川普」)美國前總統
16Bill Clinton克林頓 (Taiwan:「柯林頓」)美國前總統
17Lee Teng-hui李登輝台灣前總統、國民黨前主席,2020年7月病逝
18Zhu Rongji朱鎔基中國國務院前總理
19Osama 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
20Joseph Biden拜登美國總統
21Saddam 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
22Tung Chee-hwa董建華全國政協副主席、香港特別行政區首任行政長官
23Kim Jong-un金正恩朝鮮勞動黨第一書記,勞動黨中央軍委會委員長
24Dalai Lama達賴西藏活佛,流亡印度
25Yasser 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
26Colin Powell鮑威爾 (Taiwan:「鮑爾」)美國前國務卿,2021年10月病逝
27Liu Xiang劉翔中國跨欄男選手,奧運冠軍
28Jacque Chirac希拉克 (Taiwan:「席哈克」)法國前總統,2019年9月病逝