The COVID-19 global pandemic has elicited a rise in cyber nationalism in China, as the world’s most populous nation outperformed the “scientifically” advanced western nations in the handling of the crisis. Chinese netizens on social messaging platform Zhihu cite upsurging cases of COVID-19 and death tolls in western countries as evidence of China’s zero-COVID strategy success, and have generated a new trend of Chinese cyber nationalism. Within this new trend, positive perceptions of western countries and their ideologies declined greatly. As previous studies have predicted, Chinese netizens are becoming more and more disappointed in western countries and “have no choice but to side with China.” This has also prompted China to be more confident in challenging the global narrative and seeking to guide the international order on COVID-related issues amid the China-US rivalry and thus facilitating a strong emotion of “China against the West.” However, this strong surge of emotion does not accurately translate into support of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID-19 policy.
About the Author
Talkeetna Saiget a MAIA (Master’s in Asian International Affairs) graduate at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, focusing on China. She received a B.A. in Japanese studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. During her years at Tsinghua University, she was nominated as an exchange student to Kyoto University where she got her JLPT N1 certificate. She became increasingly interested in international relations after working at the Republic of Sierra Leone embassy in Beijing. Her research interests include China-US relations, US-Japan relations, Japan-China relations, Japanese history, and Chinese history.