Covid-19 communication on Weibo: China state media's strategy, by  Professor King-wa Fu, University of Hong Kong, 17 November 2021, 4pm-5:30pm GMT

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Abstract: Even as comments on China’s response to the unprecedent global public health challenge are mixed, the country’s local opinion polls so far (setting the possible preference falsification aside) suggest a positive view in general. State media is thought to have played a critical role in shaping the public’s understanding about the pandemic. This study seeks to explore the ways in which China state media communicated COVID-19 with the people, especially how the news media frames outbreaks in other countries, which offers a reference for the citizen’s social comparison to evaluate their own government’s performance. The study methodology is to collect China state media’s weibos in 2019 from the Weiboscope project and model the data by word embedding techniques. The findings are interpreted from two different angles: authoritarian media’s populistic style and its representation of the country’s foreign relation. 


Short Bio 

Dr King-wa FU is a Professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC), the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include China's information governance, media and political participation, computational social sciences, health and the media, and younger generation's media use. He was a visiting associate professor at the MIT Media Lab and Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Senior Research Scholar in 2016-2017 and a China-US Scholar 2021-2022 at Boston University. He is the Principle Investigator of Weiboscope, WeChatscope, and ANTIELAB Research Data Archive. He was a journalist at the Hong Kong Economic Journal before turning to academia.

The Scottish Centre for China Research Seminar Programme gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the MacFie Bequest. 

First published: 13 November 2021

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