China’s Discourse-Power Ecosystem Map

The DFR Lab and parent The Atlantic Council published three pieces that shed light on China’s mechanisms for continuing to influence people abroad. Researchers looked at students in the US and Chinese ex-pats. A larger report which featured the ecosystem map pictured below contained the supplementary information.

Image from Gyazo


How CSSAs reinforce official narratives to expat Chinese students on WeChat


WeChat channels keep Chinese students in US tied to the motherland


Chinese Discourse Power: Aspirations, reality, and ambitions in the digital domain

As China’s military and economic power has grown, so has its ambition to shape global norms to suit its priorities. China believes that the United States currently dominates the international system, and sees growing Western opposition to China as evidence that the current order is now a threat to the continued security of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As such, China’s leadership has come to see its ability to reshape the international order—or, at least, to decenter US power within it—as essential to the party’s future.

China’s leaders have clearly articulated that they believe that Western countries, and especially the United States, have been able to exert global dominance because they possess what China terms “discourse power” (话语权): a type of narrative agenda-setting ability focused on reshaping global governance, values, and norms to legitimize and facilitate the expression of state power.

Read the full report.