• Mette Marie Westergaard
This paper analyses how the Chinese news media China Daily uses defensive soft power as a response to perceived attacks on China’s national image in China Daily’s coverage of the Hong Kong protests from 2019 onward. To analyse how China Daily responds to the perceived attacks on China’s national image, the researcher applies defensive soft power and critical discourse analysis to her analysis. The researcher uses Dylan Loh as her basis for the defensive soft power theory. Furthermore, the researcher uses negative soft power as a supplement to the defensive soft power theory. The data the researcher analyses are articles from China Daily from one week in November, where the researcher found an increase in articles written about the Hong Kong protests. In total, the researcher analysed 60 articles which she categorised. The categorisation of articles reveals what China Daily perceives as attacks on China’s national image. The two perceived attacks which China Daily wrote the most articles about were the US making the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 bill law and the pro-democracy camp winning the majority of seats at the Hong Kong local elections instead of the pro-establishment camp.
To analyse how China Daily responds to these attacks, the researcher used Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis as a theory and a method. The researcher analyses the different categories of articles through the three dimensions of critical discourse analysis: description, interpretation and explanation. The researcher found that China Daily uses negative and positive words along with active sentences in their articles to ensure that the readers of the articles know who is the antagonist and who the readers should support in relation to the perceived attacks. Because of this, the US, the protestors and the pro-democracy camp are described with negative words throughout the different articles while the Hong Kong government, the pro-establishment camp and the police are described positively. By describing the two different sides like this, China Daily may create national cohesion by using negative soft power to describe the ones who attack China’s national image while using soft power defensively about domestic institutions such as the Hong Kong government to show that the attack is unfounded because the Hong Kong government as an example provides a stable and prosperous region to the Hong Kongers which cannot be critiqued.
SpecialisationChina and International Relations
Publication date15 May 2020
Number of pages62
ID: 332376873