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In this paper, we employ selective bit mapping to improve the performance of the LDPC coded QAM scheme for terrestrial DTV broadcasting system. The threshold of message-passing decoding can be considerably lowered by selectively mapping the binary components of LDPC codeword to the positions in the m-tuples to be mapped into 2mQAM symbols. In our approach, the mapping pattern is described by bit-mapping polynomials, based on which density evolution can be applied. The optimization algorithm is developed with two implementation concerns, using the Chinese DTMB standard as an example. Numerical results illustrate that our proposed approach can improve the decoding threshold by 0.05 dB to 0.499 dB depending on the code rate and the order of QAM modulation. Simulation results show that the actual BER improvement varies from 0.09 dB to 0.6 dB with different code-modulation combinations in both single-carrier and OFDM modes.