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      The Politics of Blaming: the Narrative Battle between China and the US over COVID-19

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          Abstract

          During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing a surge of nationalism throughout an ostensibly globalized world. In this article, we focus on the “narrative battle” over COVID-19 that has escalated between two competing major powers – China and the US. Guided by a cultural sociological approach, we reveal the meaning-making processes behind the narrative battle through in-depth, hermeneutical reconstruction of the “reactive performance” of each country, as articulated in political speeches and mass media. We point out that, in the Chinese narrative, the country emerges from a “century of humiliation,” becoming a major world power that will no longer be subject to the “bullying” of the West. In the US narrative, even though Trump initially highlights the country’s “very good” relationship with China, as the storyline unfolds, China is blamed for the global pandemic, assuming again the role of a dangerous actor on the world stage. Our research shows that the current reactive communicative mechanism is not only unsustainable, but also dangerous in times of crisis. We suggest that recognition of the narrative battle and acknowledgement of its performative function in the public sphere is the first step toward mutual understanding and meaningful dialogue between these two world powers.

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          Most cited references 24

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                runya.qiaoan@upol.cz
                Journal
                J Chin Polit Sci
                J Chin Polit Sci
                Journal of Chinese Political Science
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                1080-6954
                1874-6357
                1 September 2020
                : 1-21
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.10267.32, ISNI 0000 0001 2194 0956, Masaryk University, ; 601 77 Brno, Czechia
                [2 ]GRID grid.10979.36, ISNI 0000 0001 1245 3953, Department of Asian Studies, , Palacky University, ; Křížkovského, 14 779 00 Olomouc, Czech Republic
                Article
                9690
                10.1007/s11366-020-09690-8
                7462109
                © Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2020

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                Funding
                Funded by: European Regional Development Fund- ‘Sinophone Borderlands ‐ Interaction at the Edges’
                Award ID: no.CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000791
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Migration and Contemporary Societies: Cultural Sociological Perspectives
                Award ID: MUNI/A/1157/2019.
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
                Research Article

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