SupChina: China’s public Latin America and the Caribbean – COVID-19 edition
Tue October, 2020, Age: 3 years
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese diplomatic corps has evolved its messaging, particularly in the social media sphere, and is now reaching a wider audience with a clearer and more sophisticated message. China’s official narrative — this time centered on its handling of the outbreak and donations to other countries — has been tailored specifically for the developing world. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of China’s public diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). According to a recent study by the China Latin America Research Center of the Andrés Bello Foundation, the use of Twitter by LAC-based Chinese entities and officials has skyrocketed ever since the COVID-19 outbreak went global.
Two approaches to content development characterize the posts, one proactive and one reactive. The former seeks to promote China in a positive light — this includes publicizing its donations, highlighting its cooperation with the World Health Organization, stressing the importance of international cooperation, and explaining China’s handling of the pandemic. The latter is defensive and seeks to counter external images that reflect negatively on China and the CCP — this includes topics like the Hong Kong national security law, the Uyghur internment camps in Xinjiang, and China’s disputes with other countries in the South China Sea.