Chinas Strategic Narrative About International System and its Adaptations to Different National Audiences

22
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-6-119-128
EDN: FDBYSF
E. Soboleva, edsoboleva@hse.ru
HSE University (St. Petersburg), 123, Griboyedova Canal Emb., 190068, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
S. Krivokhizh, skrivokhizh@hse.ru
HSE University (St. Petersburg), 123, Griboyedova Canal Emb., 190068, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
 

Received 05.02.2024. Revised 21.02.2024. Accepted 03.04.2024.

Acknowledgements. This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation under grant no. 23-28-00994, https://rscf.ru/project/23-28-00994/


Abstract. States seek to attribute preferable meanings to international order and its different dimensions and thus shape policy choices of other international actors. During the presidency of Xi Jinping, the PRC has accelerated the development of its discourse power, which includes attempts to promote its own vision of international order. While the contents of China’s strategic narratives about the international system have been quite well summarized and discussed in the existing scholarship, other aspects of China’s external communication have received less attention. This article aims to fill this gap and analyzes how China adapts its messages to different national audiences. We approach this question by comparing China’s strategic narratives about the international system disseminated by the PRC diplomats serving in the African Union, Kazakhstan, Russia and the US. Our analysis demonstrates that there is general coherence between the narratives that Chinese diplomats project. Appeals to the selected past experiences are used to question the fairness and inclusiveness of the contemporary world order dominated by western countries. Global challenges complicated by the exiting unfairness requires the new leader that can guide united response and fix the injustices. Despite the obvious similarities, the Chinese diplomats add details and emphasis to the narratives to fit in different communication environments. In particular, they use local jargon and appeal to different historical experiences and political myths. We show that local beliefs and values are incorporated in Chinese narratives to generate new shared meanings that accommodate China’s diverse foreign policy goals. For instance, in the case of African Union, colonialism and decolonization are examples of past experience most often used in China’s narrative, while in case of Russia these are appeals to Great Patriotic War.

Keywords: China, foreign policy, narrative, strategic narrative, discourse power


REFERENCES

1. Zhao K. China’s Rise and its Discursive Power Strategy. Chinese Political Science Review, 2016, pp. 539-564. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41111-016-0027-x

2. Denisov I.E. The Concept of “Discursive Power” and the Transformation of Chinese Foreign Policy under Xi Jinping. Comparative Politics Russia, 2020, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 42-52. (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.sravpol.ru/jour/article/view/1237 (accessed 12.10.2023).

3. Miskimmon A., O’Loughlin B., Roselle L. Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order. (1st ed.) New York, Routledge, 2013. 318 p.

4. Bogdanov S.V. Issues in the Development of the BRICS’ Strategic Narrative. International Organisations Research Journal, 2019, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 173-190. (In Russ.) Available at: http://doi.org/10.17323/1996-7845-2019-02-07 

5. Krivokhizh S.V., Soboleva E.D. Strategic Narratives in China’s Bid for Discursive Hegemony. International Organisations Research Journal, 2023, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 178-192. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.17323/1996-7845-2023-02-09 

6. Lams L. Examining Strategic Narratives in Chinese Official Discourse under Xi Jinping. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 2018, no. 23, pp. 387-341. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11366-018-9529-8 

7. Cao Dejun. Strategic Narrative in Great Power Competition: The Game of Sino-US Diplomatic Discourse and Its Narrative Scenario. World Economics and Politics, 2021, no. 5, pp. 151-179. (In Chin.)

8. Feldman M.S., Sköldberg K., Brown R.N., Horner D. Making Sense of Stories: A Rhetorical Approach to Narrative Analysis. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2004, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 147-170. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/muh010 

9. Ba A.D. China’s “Belt and Road” in Southeast Asia: Constructing the Strategic Narrative in Singapore. Asian Perspective, 2019, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 249-272. Available at: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/725796 (accessed 12.10.2023).

10. Rosendal T. China’s Buddhist strategic narratives in Sri Lanka – benefits and Buddhism? The Pacific Review, 2022, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 1426-1455. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09512748.2022.2120063 

11. Van Noort C., Colley T. How do strategic narratives shape policy adoption? Responses to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Review of International Studies, 2021, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 39-63. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210520000388

12. Sullivan J., Wang W. China’s “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”: The Interaction of Formal Diplomacy and Cyber-Nationalism. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 2022, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 68-88. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/18681026221079841  

13. Yau N. Managing sentiments in the Western periphery: Chinese information operations in the Kyrgyz Republic. OSCE Academy in Bishkek, 2022. Available at: https://www.osce-academy.net/upload/file/Chinaaffairsinkg.pdf 

14. Kurlantzick J. China’s growing attempts to influence U.S. politics. Council on Foreign Relations, 31.10.2022. Available at: https://www.cfr.org/article/chinas-growing-attempts-influence-us-politics (accessed 19.10.2023).

15. Zhao S. Rethinking the Chinese World Order: the imperial cycle and the rise of China. Journal of Contemporary China, 2015, vol. 24, no. 96, pp. 961-982. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2015.1030913

16. Krivokhizh S.V., Soboleva E.D., Melnikova E.S. Chinese Media Representation of the SCO: A Study of People’s Daily and Global Times. Vestnik RUDN. International Relations, 2023, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 105-115. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.22363/2313-0660-2023-23-1-105-115 

17. Vine D. The United States of war: a global history of America’s endless conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. Oakland, University of California Press, 2020. 464 p.

18. Jones C. China’s Challenge to Liberal Norms: The Durability of International Order. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 356 p.

19. Denisov I.E. The Chinese Narrative on the “American West”: Discursive Shift Amid Rising Foreign Policy Challenges. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 11, pp. 112-126. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-11-112-126 

20. Marzagora S. History in twentieth-century Ethiopia: The “Great Tradition” and the counter-histories of national failure. The Journal of African History, 2017, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 425-444. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853717000342

21. Malinova O.Yu. Political Use of the Great Patriotic War Symbol in Post-Soviet Russia: Evolution of Ruling Elites’ Discourse. Proshliy vek, 2013, no. 1, pp. 158-186. (In Russ.)


SOURCES

1. Chargé d’Affaires Mr. Chen Xufeng Publishes a Signed Article Titled Passing on the charm of Chinese language Continuing the splendid chapter of China and Africa in Capita. Mission of the PRC to the African Union, 22.04.2022. Available at: https://au.china-mission.gov.cn/eng/sghd_1/202204/t20220422_10672370.htm (accessed 20.10.2023).

2. Ambassador Liu Yuxi: Twenty years through thick and thin, Hand in hand to promote development – Written on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the African Union. Mission of the PRC to the African Union, 28.02.2022. Available at: http://au.china-mission.gov.cn/eng/sghd_1/202202/t20220228_10646364.htm (accessed 20.10.2023).

3. Continuing the last and opening up the future, we will write a new chapter in Sino-Kazakh relations. Embassy of the PRC to Kazakhstan, 13.09.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://kz.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/dszc/emba/202209/t20220913_10765593.htm (accessed 01.10.2023).

4. When discussing the issue of genocide, the US should carefully look in the mirror. Embassy of the PRC to Kazakhstan, 09.03.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://kz.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/dszc/emba/202203/t20220309_10650309.htm (accessed 01.10.2023).

5. The PRC ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui has published an article in Trud newspaper titled “Memories about the past are the best advisor for the future”. Embassy of the PRC to Russia, 02.09.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://ru.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/sghd/202209/t20220902_10759683.htm (accessed 02.10.2022).

6. “There is no democracy in the US, they have no moral right to teach the rest of the world”. Kommersant, 06.11.2012. (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2061061 (accessed 02.10.2023).

7. Transcript of Ambassador Qin Gang’s Interview with “Talk with World Leaders”. Embassy of the PRC to the USA, 27.03.2022. Available at: http://us.china-embassy.gov.cn/eng/dshd/202203/t20220327_10656186.htm (accessed 01.10.2023).

8. Head of Mission of China to the African Union Ambassador Hu Changchun Takes an Interview with Capital. Mission of the PRC to the African Union, 19.12.2022. Available at: http://au.china-mission.gov.cn/eng/sghd_1/202212/t20221219_10992246.htm (accessed 20.10.2023).

9. Head of Mission of China to the African Union Ambassador Hu Changchun takes an Interview with Ethiopian Monitor on U. S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Mission of the PRC to the African Union, 11.08.2022. Available at: http://au.china-mission.gov.cn/eng/sghd_1/202208/t20220811_10741654.htm (accessed 20.10.2023).

10. Head of Mission of China to the African Union Ambassador Hu Changchun Published a Signed Article in Ethiopia Mainstream Media Capital. Mission of the PRC to the African Union, 08.08.2022. Available at: http://au.china-mission.gov.cn/eng/sghd_1/202208/t20220808_10737410.htm (accessed 20.10.2023).

11. The PRC ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui takes an interview with IA “Rossiya Segodnya” about the situation in Taiwan Strait and Sino-Russian cooperation”. Embassy of the PRC to Russia, 12.08.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://ru.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/sghd/202208/t20220812_10742648.htm (accessed 20.10.2023).

12. Ambassador Qin Gang Publishes an Article Entitled “The Ukraine Crisis and Its Aftermath” on The National Interest. Embassy of the PRC to the USA, 18.04.2022. Available at: http://us.china-embassy.gov.cn/eng/dshd/202204/t20220418_10669278.htm (accessed 01.10.2023).

13. Ambassador Qin Gang Takes an Interview with Forbes. Embassy of the PRC to the USA, 05.05.2022. Available at: http://us.china-embassy.gov.cn/eng/dshd/202205/t20220506_10682129.htm (accessed 01.10.2023).

14. The PRC ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui takes an interview with IA “Rossiya Segodnya”. Embassy of the PRC to Russia, 17.04.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://ru.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/sghd/202303/t20230317_11043896.htm (accessed 01.20.2023).

15. The PRC ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui published an article in Trud newspaper titled “Ideas of Xi Jinping on diplomacy – roadmap to build the community of common destiny”. Embassy of the PRC to Russia, 12.08.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://ru.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/sghd/202208/t20220812_10742516.htm (accessed 01.10.2023).

16. Ambassador Zhang Hanhui: hegemony and power politics of the west are the source of instability in the world. Embassy of the PRC to Russia, 08.04.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://ru.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/sghd/202204/t20220408_10665934.htm (accessed 09.10.2023).

17. Implementation of the global security initiative to ensure security and peace in the world. Embassy of the PRC to Kazakhstan, 07.05.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://kz.china-embassy.gov.cn/rus/sgxx/sgdt/202205/t20220507_10683072.htm (accessed 03.10.2023).

18. Chargé d’Affaires Chen Xufeng Takes an Interview with Walta Information Center. Mission of the PRC to the African Union, 06.05.2022. Available at: http://au.china-mission.gov.cn/eng/sghd_1/202205/t20220506_10682597.htm (accessed 15.10.2023).

19. Ambassador Qin Gang Takes an Interview with NPR Morning Edition. Embassy of the PRC to the USA, 28.01.2022. (In Russ.) Available at: http://us.china-embassy.gov.cn/eng/dshd/202201/t20220129_10636444.htm (accessed 12.10.2023).


For citation:
Soboleva E., Krivokhizh S. Chinas Strategic Narrative About International System and its Adaptations to Different National Audiences. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 6, pp. 119-128. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-6-119-128 EDN: FDBYSF



Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment







Indexed

 

 

 

 

Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies

 

Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
INVITATION FOR PUBLICATION
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.