Chinese Crisis Communication in the Early Stage of the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Discourse Analysis of People's Daily News Articles in Response to Threatening International News Coverage

This paper examines China’s international communication strategy during the initial phase of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring of 2020, Western governments and media began criticizing the systematic lack of transparency and accountability in the Chinese political system in relation to the failed containment of the Wuhan outbreak. Facing an unprecedented reputational crisis, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mobilized its foreign-language media in an attempt to influence the international discourse on COVID-19. Surveying the English and Chinese editions of the People’s Daily, this study identifies CCP discourses aimed at foreign audiences and traces their evolution during the early stages of the pandemic. Overall, the study provides a comprehensive map of Chinese narratives on COVID-19 and generates fresh insights into CCP crisis communication.