Cultivating and Communicating Nationalism: Marketing China's Foreign Policy to its Citizens in the 20th Chinese Communist Party National Congress
9 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2022
Date Written: November 14, 2022
This data memo examines the coverage of Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping's speech at the opening of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on Chinese social media. It finds that elements of the speech concerning Taiwan and military and foreign policy were focused on in official reporting, which constituted the entirety of coverage of the congress online during the period examined. In addition to media outlets publishing identical extracts from Xi's speech, the police, public safety and judicial state organs also posted these identical quotes, contributing to a homogenous picture of coverage on social media that acts as part of a wider narrative to create a picture of massive support and unity behind the announced ideas. This messaging presents two delicate, discursive balancing acts concerning what constitutes an internal issue and what constitutes external interference, and around how aggressive language and military preparations can be made consistent with ideas of a peaceful, benevolent country. There were notable elements of messaging that seemed aimed not just to convince a domestic Chinese audience about the justness of reunification with Taiwan but also the need for individual citizens to strengthen their preparedness for war. Given the history of nationalistic mobilisation in China, these elements of not just discursive, ideological justification to citizens of military action but also, even subtle, calls for individual citizen action is something that should be keenly watched by those seeking to understand the scope of the CCP's future policy vis-à-vis Taiwan.
Keywords: China, social media, Weibo, CCP, Xi Jinping, Taiwan, cross-strait relations, 20th Party Congress
JEL Classification: O38, O53,
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation