The Chinese Diplomacy and the Battle for Truth During the COVID-19 Pandemic. A struggle for hegemony?



This article analyzes Chinese diplomacy during the Covid-19 crisis and the struggle for control of narratives aimed at constructing an image of a responsible nation. In this paper I assume that the emergence of COVID-19 represented a critical problem for the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party, forcing the authorities to fight not only to contain the spread of the virus but also to create and maintain a favorable public opinion regarding management of the crisis both nationally and internationally. It is in this context that the Chinese government launched an active diplomacy offensive, presenting itself as a responsible state through both “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy” and “Mask Diplomacy”. Based on Foucault´s approach to the Regime of Truth, I analyze the narratives and activities of the Chinese government and how diplomacy was employed in order to create a truth about the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, I review how social mechanisms and conventions were utilized to emphasize and validate knowledge linked to power systems. I conclude that if the Chinese government has the “truth” as a part of a regime, it both enhances the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party and increases its power. At the same time a strong Chinese government is able to devote significant resources to spreading a discourse both nationally and internationally which is purportedly true. The point of the discourse however is to further strengthen the power of the CCP, rather than to achieve global hegemony.

Palabras clave:

China, Covid-19, Diplomacy, Narratives, Regime of truth

Biografía del autor/a

Daniel Lemus-Delgado, Tecnológico de Monterrey

Profesor investigador de la Escuela de Ciencias Sociales y Gobierno, Tecnológico de Monterrey (México) e investigador invitado de Fudan Development Institute, Universidad de Fudan (China). Licenciado en Historia por la Universidad de Guadalajara, Maestro en Estudios Humanísticos por el Tecnológico de Monterrey y Doctor en Relaciones Internacionales Transpacíficas por la Facultad de Economía de la Universidad de Colima, México. Miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores del Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (México), nivel II.


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