Intellectual discourse on Chinese media in times of the coronavirus

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This paper investigates intellectual discourse in China during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis through two discourse analyses, aiming to see the role of intellectuals in leading public discussion and perception on government decisions in times of crisis. Digital ethnography and digital discourse analysis are implemented to do a micro and in-depth analysis of texts and the media engagement of the Chinese intellectuals. In the context in which the presence and reception of public intellectuals in China has been transformed from pro-West gongzhi (公知) to intellectuals in the system (体制内), this study reviews the moral values and norms that promoted governmental policies and social coherence embedded in a new intellectual discourse. It contributes to the analysis of the dynamics and flexibility of China’s public communication in times of crisis within the social context in which online activities and offline realities are closely bonded in modern China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-165
Number of pages23
JournalChinese Language and Discourse. An International and Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022


  • Coronavirus
  • Crisis Discourse
  • Cultural Authority
  • Media Communication
  • Public Intellectual


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