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Shifts in Chinese Coverage of the Trade War Amid COVID-19
April 17, 2020
Post by Taylor Long
Since 2018, the U.S. and China have been battling in an ongoing trade war that has impacted not just the American and Chinese economies, but the global economy at large. Chinese state media pushes anti-U.S. narratives heavily in its coverage of the trade war and asserts that the economic tensions create negative repercussions for all, including the U.S. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, trade war coverage by China’s Global Times has changed.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the trade war was the main topic of Global Time’s coverage about the U.S. Articles mostly focused on two themes: ending the trade war to benefit both the U.S. and China, and the trade war’s negative impact on the U.S. economy, especially manufacturers and consumers. China often pointed to the benefits of economic cooperation and claimed China was willing to play fair in order to end the war, painting America as responsible for continued tensions.
Although there have been notable shifts in the Global Times’s coverage of the trade war during the COVID-19 outbreak, the outlet has sustained some of its previous narratives. As the outbreak turned into a global pandemic, the Global Times continued to target Trump and his administration for ruining the U.S.-China relationship, particularly after Trump’s reference to COVID-19 as “Chinese virus.” The Global Times continues to revisit calls for economic cooperation. And as COVID-19 continues to create upheaval in the U.S., China will likely continue to portray America as the antagonist in the trade war, attempting to lay blame for tensions with China on Trump and portray his policy as an obstacle in halting the progress against the outbreak.