1Hobova, Ye.
1A. Yu. Krymskyi Institute of Oriental Studies, NAS of Ukraine. 4, Hrushevskoho Str., Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine
Kitaêznavčì doslìdžennâ 2020, 1:5–16
https://doi.org/10.15407/chinesest2020.01.005
Section: Political, social and economic development of China
Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: 

Coronavirus epidemic that started in late 2019 in Wuhan, became an unprecedented challenge for the Chinese healthcare system and Chinese diplomacy. The paper analyses the measures and claims made by official China from the point of the crisis communication theory. Crisis management strategies and actions in the public infosphere of China during the initial stage of new coronavirus pneumonia spread within the country. Using the written texts of MFA of PRC press conferences and news messages in the key official information agencies, the main narratives of internal and external communication are examined. The analysis highlights flaws on the stage of initial response to the crisis – untimely reaction, uncoordinated measures, lack of empathic messages. All of that may lead to complications in reputation repair and further increase of China’s reputational burden in the context of healthcare crises. Content of the narratives found in the material, despite the shortcomings in the communication of Wuhan epidemic, shows the current trends in Chinese foreign relations. Proactive formation of a “responsible great state” image is one of the most prominent traits in the MFA speakers’ rhetoric. Internal crisis communication had consistent promotion of information on personal safety measures and hygiene recommendations for the epidemic. Such a strategy combined with the general narrative of “people’s battle with the disease” helped at least in part to reduce panic within the society. Epidemic in the foreign media also became a part of the general epidemic discourse in the Chinese traditional media. References to current foreign relations concepts, accurate action coordination with the Chinese information agencies, in particular, showed overall preparedness of the country’s official representatives to this kind of situation. In general, taking into account the discovered shortcomings, the stage of initial response to the crisis exhibited satisfactory actions of corresponding institutions and efficiency of international relations concepts that were guiding these actions.

 

Keywords: China, COVID-19, crisis communication, foreign affairs, narrative

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