Power and Authority? People’s Daily Writing on the US-China Trade Dispute


This talk discusses elite narratives presented in the People’s Daily about the trade dispute and deterioration of relations with the United States in 2019. It analyses 106 People’s Daily articles published from the 7th of May to the 14th of October 2019 under the series title ‘Is the Chinese Economy Okay? Understanding General Trends in China-US Trade Friction’. Taken together, the articles provide a summation of the key arguments, talking points and narratives formulated to direct officials, intellectuals and media to the correct political line on the dispute. In stark contrast to the international criticism of human rights and foreign policy and at a time when unfavourable views of China reached historic highs, the commentaries emphasise strength, morality, righteousness and international authority. These themes continue to inform the grammar of Chinese diplomacy today.

About the speaker

Jason Young is Associate Professor of International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington and Director (currently on research leave) of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre. His research interests focus on Chinese politics and international relations, New Zealand China relations and international relations scholarship in the People’s Republic of China. He is currently working on the above project.

Date: Thursday 14 October 2021
AM105, Kelburn Campus