Liang Pan

   (2020) No 8, Issue 2  

Contextualizing Mediated Public Diplomacy: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of Chinese and U.S. TV News Coverage of Trump’s State Visit to China

Liang PAN

Pages: 5-24



U.S. President Donald Trump paid his first state visit to China in November 2017. Despite the two countries’ rugged relations, political elites from both sides had to reach expedient political congeniality for this high-stake diplomatic event. The state visit represented the best-case scenario in which the two adversarial countries could mutually conduct mediated public diplomacy. This article critically examines and compares Chinese and U.S. TV news discourse on the state visit in the supra-textual, verbal-textual, and visual modes. Conventional research suggests that external-relational factors, such as power hierarchy, cultural and political differences between countries affect mediated public diplomacy most. However, this article finds that China and the U.S.’ domestic political-economic and societal-intuitional logics behind news production have a more definitive influence on the actualization of mediated public diplomacy. These distinct domestic logics defy the governments’ foreign policy and lead to asymmetrical and futile public diplomacy results even in the best-case scenario.


 public diplomacy, U.S.-China relations, critical discourse analysis, international communication, multimodal discourse analysis, comparative media study


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