The European Union’s digital public diplomacy in China during the covid-19 pandemic: An examination of the EU’s Weibo account


6:00 PM - 7:30 PM


  • 时间: 18:00-19:30
  • 日期: 2021年11月8日,星期一
  • 地点: HS436


The global outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has exerted a severe impact on the international image of the European Union in the wake of its countries’ diverse responses to the viral outbreaks. In this context, the EU is actively shaping its own image in China through digital public diplomacy on social media platforms. In this talk I will discuss, from the perspective of dialogic theory, the EU’s image-building practice and its communications’ effects in China. The discussion is based on content analysis and big data network analysis of the EU Delegation’s communications in China on its official Weibo account in the last year and a half. The study found that during the pandemic, the EU Delegation tried to put forward four EU images to the Chinese public through Weibo; namely, the EU as a normative power in international affairs, a leader in European solidarity and cooperation, a partner of China on global issues, and a “normal Europe” during the covid-19 pandemic. However, in this talk I will argue that the EU Delegation in China has not succeeded to form a dialogic relationship with Chinese netizens on Weibo, but the communication dynamic has, instead, rather reinforced different, conflicting perspectives.


Dr Li Zhang is Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of Public Relations and Strategic Communication at Tsinghua University. She is the author of News Media and EU-China Relations (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), and her articles appeared in Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, Asia Europe Journal, International Communication Gazette, and Journal of International Communication, among others.