Jawing through Crises: Chinese and Vietnamese Media Strategies in the South China Sea

Journal of Contemporary China, 28:119, 712-72

22 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2021

Date Written: February 26, 2019


Winston Churchill once said, “it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war.” However, negotiations are particularly difficult when they are enmeshed in public opinion precommitments. The sharpest crisis between China and Vietnam in the last 30 years concerned the placement of a Chinese oil rig into contested waters in 2014. This study analyses the Chinese and Vietnamese propaganda efforts surrounding the crisis as examples of the instrumental use of propaganda in managing domestic public opinion on diplomatic crises. The article argues that despite very different approaches to public diplomacy during the crisis, both states were primarily concerned with avoiding escalation and ending the confrontation. The authors show how propaganda function as a pacifying device in dealing with rising domestic nationalism when executing a moderate foreign policy.

Keywords: South China Sea, Chinese Media, Vietnamese Media, Oil Rig Crisis 2014

Suggested Citation

Wang, Frances Yaping and Womack, Brantly, Jawing through Crises: Chinese and Vietnamese Media Strategies in the South China Sea (February 26, 2019). Journal of Contemporary China, 28:119, 712-72, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3891759. or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3891759

Frances Yaping Wang (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University ( email )

469 Bukit Timah Road
Federal Building #02-05
Singapore, 259756

Brantly Womack

U. of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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