Although citizenship education has received significant official attention in China in recent years, its aim remains vague. At a time when social demands increasingly influence policymaking by the state, this article examines the meaning of citizenship to the state and society in China. Data are derived from a content analysis of the use of gongmin (the Chinese term for citizen or citizenship) in two distinct newspapers: People's Daily and Southern Metropolis Daily. The results indicate that there is discrepancy of meaning of citizenship between the state and society. The terminology used by the state tends to highlight the responsibilities and participation of citizenship while societal discourses are likely to articulate the notion of citizenship in terms of rights. Four implications are drawn for developing citizenship education that not only balances rights and responsibilities but also promotes participation in China.
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