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Sheng-chi Shu


Before coming to Cambridge to pursue a PhD in Modern Chinese History in Michaelmas 2010, I completed an M.A. in History, a B.A. (Honours) in History and a B.A. in Economics and History at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Subject groups/Research projects

Chinese Studies:

Research Interests

PhD Dissertation title:
Dealing with Global Geopolitics of News:  Guomindang/Communist China and Reuters (1931-1957)

My dissertation examines how China during the Nationalist and the early PRC Era dealt with its relatively weaker position in the global geopolitics of news communications through forging strategic collaborations with leading news agencies of the world.
The entire analysis takes place within a cross-temporal frame that encompasses the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the Civil War (1945-1949) and the early period of the Cold War as the project's broader historical contexts. By analyzing the cases of the contractual relationships between Reuters and the official news agencies of the Guomindang and the CCP, the Central News Agency (CNA) and the New China (Xinhua) News Agency (NCNA), the study seeks to shed light on how the GMD and the CCP were able to resourcefully utilize and manage the international news agency relations of their respective news propaganda organs for the benefit of their international propaganda as well as party-state control of news dissemination in and out of China.  Broadly speaking, the study aims to delve deeper into the complex processes of mutually advantageous exploitations in which players of different backgrounds, motivations, purposes, intents, powers and strengths in the international news market and networks negotiated their differing interests and cooperated with one another in the form of bilateral news exchange contracts. Such approach offers a more nuanced alternative perspective to current international communication studies’ overt attention to the unequal power relationships of “the dominant versus the dominated” in the global geopolitics of news communications in the twentieth century.      


Research Interests

The historical globalization of news production and dissemination, the politics and culture of international communication, relations among international news agencies, China’s international news propaganda in the twentieth-century, international relations of the Guomindang and Communist China, the impact of the Sino-Japanese War, WWII and the Cold War on international communications, and news propaganda practices of East Asian states.

Other Professional Activities

Research Presentations
  •  (As both panel organizer and presenter) "Pragmatic Collaboration between Two Worlds: Xinhua News Agency and Reuters (1944-1957)," presented within the panel "Arena of Interplay: Rethinking International/Transnational Media Relations in Twentieth-Century China and East Asia" at the inaugural Association for Asian Studies (AAS)-in-Asia Conference, Singapore, 17-19 July 2014.   
  •  "Xinhua News Agency and Reuters (1954-1957): The Path towards a Contractual Relationship and its Cold War International/Global Contexts," presented in International Conference "Networking East and West: Communications, Commerce, Culture," 中國人民大學新聞學院 Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication, Beijing, China, 11-12 July 2014, co-organized by Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication and Columbia University School of Journalism.
  • "國際與跨國傳媒關係研究的近況及新方向"[Recent Directions in Research on International/Transnational News Media Relations], Invited seminar at 上海社會科學院新聞研究所 Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies, Shanghai, China, 15 May 2014.

  • "互惠背後的盤算,中介人的辛酸:著名中國記者趙敏恆、路透社與國民政府(1931-1949)" [Designs behind Mutual Benefits, Dilemmas of a Middleman: Renowned Chinese Journalist Thomas Chao, Reuters and the Guomindang Government in International News Agency Relations (1931-1949)], Invited seminar at 復旦大學新聞學院 Fudan University School of Journalism, Shanghai, China, 14 May 2014.
  • "跨國傳媒關係中的利益糾葛與危機管控:路透社、國民政府與親日汪精衛政權在中國對日抗戰期間的三角博弈" [Criss-crossing Interests and Crisis Management in Transnational Media Relations: Triangular Game among Reuters, the Nationalist Government and the Collaborationist Wang Jingwei Regime during the Sino-Japanese War], Lunchtime Seminar Series No. 66, 華東師範大學思勉高等人文研究院 Si-mian Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, 25 December 2013.
  • "跨國傳媒關係中的中層網絡與操作:路透社、新華社與雙邊新聞交換與業務合作契約談判 (1956-1957)" [Middle-level Networking and Operations in Transnational Media Relations: Reuters, the Xinhua News Agency of the PRC and Bilateral Negotiations for News Exchange Agreements (1956-1957)], History of Journalism Research Group Seminar Series, 中國人民大學新聞學院 Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication, Beijing, China, 18 December 2013.

  • ”四角博弈:路透社、國民政府中央通訊社、親日汪精衛政權的中央電訊社及日本同盟社 (1936-1945)" [Four-cornered Game: Reuters, the Guomindang Central News Agency, the Collaborationist Wang Jingwei Regime Central Press Service, the Japanese Dōmei News Agency, 1936-1945], presented in the "Propaganda Battle during the Sino-Japanese War" Seminar, 國史館Academia Historica, Taipei, Taiwan, 27 August 2013.

  • "兩個世界的磨合:路透社與中共新華社 (1944-1957)"[Pragmatic Collaboration between Two Worlds: Reuters and Xinhua News Agency (1944-1957)], Seminar organized by Mainland China and Taiwan Research Group, Institute of Modern History, 中央研究院近代史研究所 Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 23 August 2013.

  • "星火燎原:從1944年重慶國際記者招待所事件探討國民政府與國際傳媒的關係" [Sparking Fuse: The 1944 Chongqing Press Hostel Affair and International News Media Relations in Wartime China], 寰宇漢學講座 Global Chinese Studies Seminar Series, 國家圖書館漢學研究中心 National Central Library Centre for Chinese Studies, Taipei, Taiwan, 6 August 2013.

  • "Shifting Power Relationships in China's Wartime News Communication Field: Reuters, the Nationalist Government, the Collaborationist Wang Jingwei Regime and the Japanese Dōmei News Agency, 1937 – 1945", presented within the panel "Media, Agency and the Market", at the Eighth International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 8), Macao, China, 24-27 June 2013.

  • "Tango with a Giant: Reuters, Nationalist China/Central News Agency, the People's Republic of China/Xinhua News Agency and the Regime of News Exchange Agreement, 1931-1957", presented within the panel, "New Perspectives on China's Propaganda State: War, Revolution and Culture", at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, San Diego, USA, 21-24 March 2013.

  • "Triangular Game: Reuters and the International Propaganda Rivalry between the Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei Regimes during the Sino-Japanese War", presented within the panel "The Collaborationist Wang Jingwei regime" at the Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China (HSTCC) Biennial International Conference, Hangzhou, China, 8-10 June 2012.

Overseas Research Stints
  • Visiting PhD Student, Department of History, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China (December 2013)

  • Visiting Scholar, National Central Library Centre for Chinese Studies, Taiwan (June – September 2013)

Professional Memberships
  • Association for Asian Studies (2010 - present)

  • Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China (2010 - present) 

Key Publications

"Managing International News Agency Relations under the Guomindang: China's Central News Agency, Zhao Minheng and Reuters (1931-1945)," Frontiers of History in China, vol. 10, no. 4 (forthcoming in December 2015). 

"Guomin zhengfu yu Yinggguo Lutoushe de zhongjieren: Lutoushe dangan shiliao zhong de zhuming Zhongguo jizhe Zhao Minheng 國民政府與路透社的中介人:路透社檔案史料中的著名中國記者趙敏恆 (1904-1961)" (Middleman between the Guomindang Government and Reuters: Renowned Chinese Journalist Thomas Chao as revealed in Reuters Archive Documents), in Guoshi yanjiu tongxun 國史研究通訊 (Academia Historica Research Newsletter), Vol. 5 (December 2013). Print and electronic.

"Seeking Solutions for China's Crisis: Ng Poon Chew, Chung Sai Yat Po and the Reform and Revolutionary Movements," in Journal of Cambridge Studies, Volume 6, No. 4 (December 2011). Print and electronic.

“Xinma keshu renshi de jiaoyu shiye wangluo 新馬客屬人士的教育事業網絡, 1904-1919 (Educational Enterprise Network of the Hakka Community in Singapore and Malaya, 1904-1919). In  Xinjiapo kejia: wenhua yu shequn 新加坡客家:文化與社群(The Hakkas in Singapore: Culture and Community), edited by Wong Sin Kiong. Singapore: National University of Singapore Department of Chinese Studies, Nanyang Khek Community Guild (Singapore) and Char Yong (Dabu) Association, Singapore, 2008.