1Hobova, Ye.
1A. Yu. Krymskyi Institute of Oriental Studies, NAS of Ukraine. 4, Hrushevskoho Str., Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine
Kitaêznavčì doslìdžennâ 2020, 2:145-152
Section: Chinese Language and Literature
Language: Ukrainian

The most recent sociology research shows historically low view of China in the world for the last 18 years, all despite its best efforts to maintain the image of a great and benign power. This drop appeared as unprecedent events in Hongkong, Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region and Wuhan unfolded, undermining confidence in China all over the world. At the same time the PRC government has been actively supporting the growth of China’s soft power since 2013, stressing the necessity to “broadcast China’s voice”. Shaping strategic narrative became one of the key tasks for the Chinese media. However, it seems that they appeared to be ineffective in the context of crises in China and the world during 2020. The paper investigates possible reasons for the narratives’ failure to thrive. “China is a responsible country” narrative is analyzed, as well as issues of translation and perception of its key messages. Detailed linguistic analysis of the 责任 zeren concept in Chinese language shows that it is highly contextdependent and allows for both positive and negative interpretations. While trying to create an outward image of a responsible power, China pushed the slogan of ‘openness, transparency and responsibility’ in many of its official statements, especially in critical communication. Ambiguity of the key concept 责任 zeren when used in Chinese English language media and translations of PRC officials’ speeches, is also present in its English translation “responsibility”. However, the Western English language media uses this word mostly in negative contexts, that imply “China’s guilt”, more than often by blaming China for the pandemic. Focusing on the usage of this strategic narrative the paper describes how it changes its meaning from flattering to critical in different circumstances and contexts.

Keywords: China, crisis communication, responsibility, strategic narratives

Full text (PDF)

  1. Chandler C. and McGregor G. (2020), China has a global image problem, available at: https://fortune.com/2020/10/08/china-pew-research-global-image/(accessed 11 October 2020).
  2. Kai He (2020), China’s image problem is worsening globally. It’s time for Beijing to consider a diplomatic reset, available at: https://theconversation.com/chinas-image-problem-is-worsening-globally-i... (accessed 15 October 2020).
  3. Mackinnon A., Palder D. and Lynch C. (2020), China’s image plunging around the world, poll finds, available at: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/oct/6/chinas-image-plunging-ar... (accessed 10 October 2020).
  4. Pan Li and Liao Sixin (2020), News translation of reported conflicts: a corpusbased account of positioning, Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2020.1727540.
  5. Sha Hua (2020), China’s Global Image Dips to New Lows Over Its Coronavirus Response, available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-global-image-dips-tonew-lows-over-it... (accessed 10 October 2020).
  6. Silver L., Devlin K. and Huang C. (2020), Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries: Majorities say China has handled COVID-19 outbreak poorly, available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/10/06/unfavorable-views-of-china... (accessed 11 October 2020).
  7. Tang Lu (2012), Media discourse of corporate social responsibility in China: a content analysis of newspapers, Asian Journal of Communication, Vol. 22, Issue 3, pp. 270–288.
  8. Xiang Debao (2013), China’s image on international English language social media, The Journal of International Communication, Vol. 19, Issue 2, pp. 252–271.
  9. Zhang Lejin and Wu D. (2017), Media Representations of China: A Comparison of China Daily and Financial Times in Reporting on the Belt and Road Initiative, Critical Arts, Vol. 31, Issue 6, pp. 29–43.
  10. Wang Yiwei (2020), Zhongguo zhanxian fuzeren daguo xingxiang. Renmin luntan (Z2), pp. 36–39. (In Chinese).
  11. Wang Zhuanjun (2016), Zhongguo shi yige dui ziji he shijie dou fuzeren de guojia, “Guangming ribao” (2016 nian 07 yue 03 ri 05 ban) 5. (In Chinese).
  12. Zhu Dijian and Lin Yongsen (2017), Jiyu yuyixuede zeren gainian yanjiu. Tequ Shijian yu lilun, di 6 qi, pp. 106–112. (In Chinese).
  13. Xie Jun (2007), Zerenlun. Shanghai, Shanghai renmin chubanshe. (In Chinese).
  14. Zhou Yubo (2020), Guoji chuanbo nengli tisheng de xushi ce lüè yanjiu – yi zhongyang guangbo dianshi zongtai de xinguan feiyan yiqing baodao weili, Chuanmei shiye (10), pp. 25–28. (In Chinese).