News trends

October 2019

Some optimism creeped into coverage of China in October, as “trade deal” joined “trade war” as one of the most common topics. CNBC remained the most prolific source of coverage and matched the New York Times in occupying 19% of the month’s daily top three story positions. Bloomberg, the second most prolific publisher of China-related stories, had just a 1% share of top stories; the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post led the news 6% and 5% of the time. The longest-running stories for the month were a CNN feature on the seventieth anniversary of the People’s Republic, an NPR story on economic inequality, and two New York Times stories, one on Trump’s blacklisting of several Chinese tech companies, nominally for abetting human rights violations in Xinjiang, and another on Hong Kong’s protests.


About the initiative

News trends takes a quantitative approach to understanding the stories and publications that are driving coverage of China. The data is based on the stories that appear during daily queries on Google News for the term “China.” Google News is an important aggregator and, for many publishers, it and the Google search engine account for the plurality of their web traffic. Thus, the stories that Google News elevates plays an important role in shaping popular understanding of China.


Previous months

September 2019

Stories about the trade war and Hong Kong protests continued to lead China-focused coverage in September, according to a China Books Review analysis of Google News data. CNBC remained the most prolific publisher of stories about the country and this month led with the most number of stories in the top three positions of Google News results. The stories that were featured for the most number of days included a look at how Hong Kong’s relationship with the mainland has evolved; reporting on how China justifies its oppressive tactics in Xinjiang to other Chinese; and two stories on China’s economy, one refracted through the lens of US politics.

August 2019



Hong Kong was the most frequent topic of articles aggregated by Google News related to China in August, according to a quantitative news analysis by China Books Review. In August, the data set included 1,575 unique articles from some 200 publications. Article titles mentioning Hong Kong constituted 10% of those aggregated, closely followed by the trade war. In August, a Washington Post analysis of Xi Jinping’s hold on power appeared for 22 days, followed by a report from Science on the alarm among Chinese scientists triggered by increasing US government scrutiny of research relationships with China. CNBC was the most prolific publisher with 178 articles; the top five most prolific publishers accounted for more than 30% of the total articles aggregated. Stories from the New York Times appeared in the top three results 17% of the time, followed by CNN at 16%.