Beyond Altruism: Framing Organ Donation in a 19-year Review of Chinese News Coverage

Yanqin Liu, Jiun Yi Tsai, Yashu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Despite a significant legal transformation of the organ donation system in China, the public’s willingness to become organ donors remains low. This study provides the first empirical examination of how Chinese newspaper coverage reflects the complex interplay among multifaceted factors associated with the stagnant donation rate. Using framing as the primary theoretical lens, we analyzed 923 organ donation newspaper articles from 2000 to 2018 in terms of topics, facilitators and barriers, valence, and policy development. The three most common topics emphasized were: a new official information release regarding organ donation promotion; the challenges of promoting organ donation in social, cultural, and legal contexts; and the positive emotional appeals of organ donors, coordinators, and transplant surgeons. Findings suggest that the values that facilitators of and barriers to organ donation represent can be culturally favored but in conflict with each other. Sharp increases in the presence of policy development framing are associated with the official announcements of new legislation. A better understanding of trending topics and interacting influence from facilitators and barriers is imperative for developing culturally tailored messages to raise awareness about organ donation promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-888
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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