Examining strategic narratives in the Chinese official discourse under Xi Jinping's rule”

  • Datum: –15.00
  • Plats: Faculty club (H429)
  • Föreläsare: Associate Professor Lutgard Lams
  • Arrangör: Department of Informatics and Media
  • Kontaktperson: Christian Sandström
  • Seminarium

Seminar with Lutgard Lams, Associate Professor in Chinese Media and Politics Studies a the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.


Research suggests that China over the last two decades has undergone dramatic changes in its communication climate. The former monoglossic environment has made way for a plurality of voices, now debating (non-sensitive) political, social and economic issues on online fora. While this has contributed to a more consultative state-society relationship, the leadership still wields the conductor’s baton over the ensemble of voices to ensure adherence to the main melody. The uneasy coexistence of transformation and conservatism is especially salient when it comes to propaganda and soft power, which the Chinese authorities fully deploy to disseminate their vision of the ‘China story’ and to legitimize continued CCP rule.

This paper examines the various strategic narratives that cumulatively constitute this ‘China story’, designed for the international as well as domestic audiences. It looks into divergences/convergences with the political discourse of previous generations of leadership by examining argumentation patterns and discursive strategies used in speeches and texts produced by top-level officials and their ‘core’ leader, Xi Jinping. While, on the surface, new slogans, such as ‘the China dream’, the ‘new normal’ and the ‘Four Comprehensives’ appear to be Xi Jinping’s hallmark, no paradigmatic ideological change emerges from the narratives. Yet, the strategies to spread ‘the China story’ are more diverse, the conductor’s baton is held tighter, the main melody is chanted louder and the echoes are carried further abroad over the mountains and seas via the new Silk roads initiatives to present an alternative world order of ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’.

Dr. Lutgard Lams is an associate professor at the Faculty Arts of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Her research domains refer to the pragmatics of language and ideology in media and political discourse, news production processes, Orientalist/Occidentalist media practices and Othering, and Chinese political discourses. She also runs a Brussels Centre for Chinese Discourse Studies workgroup.