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China’s Political Discourse April 2023: Diligently Studying Xi Jinping Thought
Edited by Chu Yang and David L. Bandurski of the China Media Project
Diligently Studying Xi Jinping Thought
In the pages of China’s official state media, April 2023 was a month for highlighting the virtues of Chinese diplomacy and Xi Jinping’s strength as China’s head of state — with a wave of engagements coming in the wake of his “re-election” as China’s president at the National People’s Congress in March. China received leaders and delegations from at least 11 countries during the month, including France and Brazil. As diplomatic exchanges were reported in the People’s Daily, they were closely braided together with efforts to signal the power and legitimacy of Xi Jinping.
Exploiting “Strategic Autonomy”
French President Emmanuel Macron was splashed across the front page of the April 7 edition of the official People’s Daily newspaper, where Xi Jinping’s name dominated all seven of the headlines. Another headline the same day dealt with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who accompanied Macron on a joint trip that some media outlets in the West characterized as a “good cop and bad cop” effort to show European unity and resolve. Such readings would quickly prove premature.
For many watching from Europe, the pomp and pageantry of Macron’s trip was an unsettling reminder of how China sought to exploit such bilateral diplomatic exchanges to drive disunity in Europe. Macron’s remarks during an interview on his plane back to France immediately after his three-day visit only deepened these concerns, as the French president warned against Europe being drawn into a possible Taiwan conflict. “The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction,” he said.
Pointing to possible limits in the transatlantic relationship, Macron’s remarks played neatly into the hands of commentators in the Chinese official media, who seized on them as an opportunity to double down on accusations that the United States is a destructive global hegemon (as a piece argued on page 17 of the same edition of the People’s Daily pictured above). In an interview with Shanghai's Guancha.cn website at mid-month, Jin Canrong (金灿荣), an international relations scholar at Renmin University of China, said in reference to the Macron visit that “many commentators believe the US-led hegemonic system is slowly disintegrating and even assert that US hegemony will soon come to an end.” In Macron’s talk of “strategic autonomy,” Jin read signs of loosening dependence on the US, which he saw as a diplomatic victory for China. “From China's point of view, this can be seen as diplomacy working,” he said. “However, it is also sobering to realize that the call for European strategic autonomy is only partially supported within Europe, as Eastern European countries disagree, preferring to run closely behind the United States.”
The march of foreign dignitaries in the Chinese press continued through the month and provided an opportunity for China to portray itself as a responsible global leader in the face of what Xi Jinping continually called “profound historical change” (深刻的历史之变). Speaking with von der Leyen, Xi emphasized China’s 5,000 years of civilizational history — central to the fresh diplomatic focus since March on the general secretary as the creator of a “new form of human civilization,” and his launch of the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI). Seeking to present China as a powerful nation that offered an alternative to American bullying, Xi Jinping stressed that China had throughout its history opposed hegemony and the use of force. The point was made repeatedly by the state-run media and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in April. On April 25, MFA spokesperson Mao Ning (毛宁) made the oft-heard, and highly problematic, assertion during a press conference that “China is the only country that has written peaceful development into its constitution, always strives to modernize in a peaceful way, and has never invaded other countries.”
Credentials for China’s President
While US-China tensions and geopolitical issues were of course highlighted in coverage of foreign visits, they were also clearly used by the People’s Daily and other official media as a way to signal the legitimacy of Xi’s March “election,” as numerous reports quoted visiting foreign leaders congratulating the president on his third term. The visiting president of the Gabonese Republic in Central Africa, for example, was quoted in the People’s Daily on April 20 as having said during meetings the previous day that Xi’s election successes in both the 20th National Congress last fall and the National People’s Congress in March were powerful signs, "fully reflecting not only the high level of trust that the Chinese people have in President Xi Jinping, but also strengthening our belief that China will continue to achieve more on the road to prosperity and development."
As China sought to position itself as a peacemaker in Ukraine, Xi Jinping spoke to President Zelensky for the first time since the Russian invasion in February 2022 — resulting in an unprecedented five mentions of Zelensky in the People’s Daily for April. Even this diplomatic exchange, however, was inextricably linked with internal messaging about the legitimacy of Xi’s third presidential term. The official Chinese read-out of the Zelensky call included the statement: “Zelensky congratulated President Xi Jinping on his re-election, praised China’s extraordinary achievements, and said he believed that under his leadership, China would successfully meet all challenges and continue to move forward.”
But perhaps one of the most interesting examples of diplomacy exploited for domestic legitimacy came in the Party-state media treatment of the presentation of credentials by foreign ambassadors. In the case of Xi’s predecessors, the presentation of credentials by newly appointed ambassadors was generally treated as inside-page news in the People’s Daily, appearing on pages three or four, with short and factual announcements. Under Xi, the same news has gradually been given priority, appearing on the front page of the People’s Daily.
When the CCP’s flagship newspaper reported the presentation of credentials to Hu Jintao by the newly-appointed ambassadors of seven countries on August 29, 2009, the news appeared as a small announcement on the upper left-hand corner of page four of the People’s Daily (below left). By contrast, when 10 newly-appointed ambassadors presented their credentials to Xi Jinping in December 2015, the news received twice as much space on the front page (below right).
As Xi Jinping received credentials in April, marking the start of his third presidential term, the treatment in the People’s Daily was much more prominent. The front page of the April 25 edition of the newspaper included a lengthy report directly under the masthead, with an image of Xi Jinping. The report occupied more than one-third of the front-page space. The next day, a feature story on Xi’s acceptance of credentials for foreign ambassadors also ran on the front page, occupying the important space to the right of the masthead — the “newspaper eye” (报眼) — and roughly a quarter of the front-page real estate.
The report, from Xinhua, was called, “Together We Walk the Paths of the World” (携手共行天下大道). “In April, Beijing is full of warm breeze and spring,” it began lyrically, before praising Xi Jinping’s actions on diplomacy in March and April:
Invited to pay a state visit to Russia, meeting with a number of dignitaries visiting China from Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa, proposing the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) for the first time, and promoting the resolution of international and regional hotspot issues . . . In the spring of 2023, the high tide of diplomacy by the Chinese head of state has drawn the attention of the world. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the great power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics has set sail on a new journey, marking a new height of interaction between China and the world.
In the Hu Jintao era, reporting on the presentation of credentials was routine and matter-of-fact. In the Xi Jinping era, it is now used to signal Xi’s dominance and centrality in world affairs, recreating a scene like that in imperial times, when envoys would arrive in the capital to pay tribute to the emperor sitting on his throne (万邦来朝), demonstrating the greatness of the empire.
As we pointed out in our March discourse report, “the entire world is now entangled in the wires of a complex CCP political discourse that is ultimately plugged into very basic domestic claims to power and legitimacy.” Whether state media are trumpeting the supposed virtues of the Global Civilization Initiative, droning on about China’s efforts to promote peace in Ukraine, or simply reporting the acceptance of diplomatic credentials, such coverage is ultimately about amplifying the power and greatness of Xi Jinping. It is about building and defending the legitimacy of Xi’s third presidential term, and his role as the core leader of the Party.
These concerns about manufacturing loyalty and legitimacy, which are likely to persist and perhaps reach further extremes in the absence of clear succession plans, are also at play in the propagation of Xi’s leadership ideas, which focus on his banner phrase (旗帜语言), “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era” (习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想), which was emphasized in March and April as the foundation of China’s strengths both domestically and internationally — the reason it has been able to blaze its own path of modernization, and so on.
As a general rule in the CCP’s political culture, major political events like the “Two Sessions” in March must be followed by study sessions that set the political tone for the new leadership phase. Not surprisingly, April was a month of intensive “thematic education” (主题教育) — a phrase that appeared in 124 articles for the month in the People’s Daily, putting it up in Tier 2 of the CMP discourse scale, along with phrases like “Belt and Road,” and “reform and opening.”
Recent education initiatives for Xi’s banner phrase are the subject of our focus topic for April.
Focus Topic: “Uniting Hearts and Forging Souls”
The CCP Politburo announced on March 30 that a nationwide education campaign for learning and implementing “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era” (hereafter “Xi Jinping Thought,” though this shortening has not yet happened in Chinese) would extend through the month of April. Much state media discourse in April dealt, therefore, with the theme of “Xi Jinping Thought” and related educational initiatives.
On April 7, the People’s Daily published a commentary called, “Tightly Anchored in the Objectives and Tasks of Conducting Thematic Education” (紧紧锚定开展主题教育的目标任务). The commentary began by explaining the scope of “Xi Jinping Thought” — as encompassing, essentially, everything under the sun. It “covers all aspects of reform, development and stability, domestic affairs, foreign affairs and national defense, and the governance of the Party and the state and the military, constituting a complete scientific system,” the article said. It then outlined what it said were the five objectives of studying “Xi Jinping Thought”:
“[Uniting] hearts and forging souls to build a solid foundation . . . .
“[Refining] characters to strengthen loyalty . . . .
“[Doing] work to promote development . . . .
“[Practicing] the purpose for the benefit of the people . . . .
“[Establishing] a new culture with integrity.”
Loyalty, then, was the foundation of these key objectives of “Xi Jinping Thought.” Put in another way, “Xi Jinping Thought” is first and foremost about Xi Jinping the man, and only more incidentally about ideas.
On April 17, the People’s Daily ran another commentary attributed to “Zhong Yin” (仲音), the penname associated with a “writing group” (写作组) at the newspaper that is a homonym of “important voices,” signaling that it is meant to represent the view of the central CCP leadership. The commentary was called, “Learning to Forge Souls and Strengthen Ideals and Belief” (以学铸魂，坚定理想信念). The word “forge souls,” or zhuhun (铸魂), refers in this context to the molding of the personal character of the individual, instilling in them a sense of loyalty, and identification with the CCP and its goals. The commentary thus explained the necessity of “thematic education,” which was predominantly about the necessity of Xi’s leadership:
Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era is contemporary Chinese Marxism and 21st-century Marxism . . . . In this decade of the new era, there has been treacherous surf to trudge through, slopes of hardship to climb, and challenges in breaking through barriers. But it is decidedly because of General Secretary Xi Jinping piloting at the helm and the scientific guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era that hundreds of millions of people have had a “backbone” of unity in struggle, a “rudder” for their thoughts. and a “compass” for their actions.
The framing of “Xi Jinping Thought” in this passage as a “scientific” form of guidance is something with a deep history in the CCP — something readers can learn more about at the Decoding China Dictionary, a CMP partner project. Despite its apparent association with the systematic study of the natural world, the word is here, as so often in CCP discourse, “a claim to the fundamental rightness and rationality of all the Party does.” However, the word is also frequently used in the context of thematic education to suggest that the Party — or Xi specifically in this case — has arrived at special methods of understanding and applying right and proper forms of thinking. Two stories in particular in the People’s Daily in April focused on Xi Jinping as a wise teacher, emphasizing the need for “improving the scientific level of decision-making.” These were, “’Mastering the Basic Skills of Investigation and Research’: The General Secretary Taught Us by Example” (“掌握调查研究这个基本功,” 总书记这样言传身教), which presented Xi as a leader closely connected to the “grassroots” throughout his political career, adept at listening to the views of local people and incorporating them responsively into his policymaking; and “The General Secretary Together With the Laborers” (总书记同劳动人民在一起), which hyped the heroic sacrifices of China’s workers, portraying them as essential to the achievement of national renewal through Chinese-style modernization, and painted a portrait of Xi as solicitous of the situation facing workers.
Towards the end of April, as Xi’s diplomatic engagements eased up, the People's Daily redoubled its focus on thematic education with a series called, "Learning [Xi] Thought, Strengthening Party Spirit, Emphasizing Practice, Building New Achievements" (学思想, 强党性, 重实践, 建新功). The series was intended to mobilize a nationwide education campaign on “Xi Jinping Thought,” involving Party cadres and top administrators at government departments at every level across the country, including at universities. It included 12 consecutive front-page articles — the first six after the opening piece on April 19 dealing with the central party committee and state ministries, and the last five covering provinces and cities:
April 19, 2023, "Carrying Out Profound Thematic Education to Learn and Implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era" (学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想主题教育深入开展)
April 20, 2023, "Ensuring Thematic Education Achieves Solid Results" (确保主题教育取得扎实成效)
April 21, 2023, "Pushing Thematic Education to Go Deep and Practical" (推动主题教育走深走实)
April 22, 2023, "Planning, Organizing and Implementing Thematic Education Well " (把主题教育谋划好、组织好、落实好)
April 23, 2023, "Focusing on Objectives and Tasks, Emphasizing Practical Results" (聚焦目标任务 注重实际成效)
April 24, 2023, "Uniting and Gathering Strength for a New Journey" (为奋进新征程凝心聚力)
April 25, 2023, "Strengthening Theoretical Armaments, Studying Deeply, Reflecting and Practicing" (强化理论武装 深学细照笃行)
April 26, 2023, "Holding Tightly to Objectives and Tasks to Ensure Effective Results " (紧扣目标任务 确保取得实效)
April 27, 2023, "Carefully Planning Measures to Implement Task Requirements " (精心谋划措施 落实任务要求)
April 28, 2023, "Carefully Planning Deployments with An Emphasis on Practical Results" (精心谋划部署 注重实际成效)
April 29, 2023, "Carefully Organizing Implementation, Innovating Ways and Means" (认真组织实施 创新方式方法)
April 29, 2023, " Gathering a Strong Force to Accomplish Things" (凝聚起干事创业的强大力量)
All cylinders were firing in April when it came to promoting thematic education in state media. During the 2023 China Online Media Forum, an event jointly organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the People's Daily, and the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, thematic education on “Xi Jinping Thought” was defined as “the top priority in online propaganda” as top officials discussed information policy.
In addition to Party-state media organizations like Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily, nearly all government organizations set up special promotion websites to aggregate and publicize topics in thematic education.
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April Surprises: Seeking refuge on air conditioning units
On April 18, a fatal fire, among the deadliest in recent years, broke out at Beijing’s Changfeng Hospital, resulting in 29 deaths, according to official figures. Despite the fact that the fire occurred in China’s capital city, raising the likelihood that eyewitness video and related commentary would snowball on social media, there was little discussion at all online. As a report from Initium News, translated by the China Media Project, documented, eight hours of nearly total silence over the fire occurred before news reports began appearing, suggesting that online controls had been effective to a perhaps unprecedented extent.
According to the Initium report, videos of the fire appeared online about five hours after the incident showing patients at Changfeng Hospital climbing out of windows and seeking safety from the fire by perching on air conditioning units outside the windows. However, the videos were quickly censored, as was a related hashtag “#Many People Seek Refuge on Outside Air Conditioning Units in Beijing Changfeng Hospital Fire” (北京长峰医院起火 众人躲空调外机逃生).
The Hot and the Cold
About the Scale:
According to the discourse scale developed by CMP in 2016, based on a historical analysis of keywords appearing in the China Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper, we define a six-tier system of discourse intensity based on the total number of appearances of a given discourse term on a per article basis for the full year in the paper. The scale is as follows:
In 2021, CMP adjusted its classification method for CCP discourse, determining the intensity (热度) of Party terminologies according to the absolute number of articles including those terms in the People's Daily newspaper. Previously, CMP used a proportional method, which looked at the number of articles including a particular catchphrase (提法) as a ratio of total articles in the newspaper over a given period. Our monthly classification standard, based on the six-level scale created in 2016, is as follows:
As the political season faded, April saw a notable easing in intensity for almost all political catchphrases closely associated with Xi Jinping. These were not rhetorical setbacks for Xi, but rather expected moderations as China headed into the first full month following the inauguration of the new administration. This might be caused also by the busy schedule of foreign visits this month, which took up real estate in the People’s Daily that might otherwise have been devoted to more ideological matters.
“High-quality development” (高质量发展) and “20th National Congress” (二十大) remained at the top of the CMP scale in Tier 1, reflecting a strong focus on the over-arching political and economic priorities outlined last fall. Also in Tier 1 were “Chinese-style modernization” (中国式现代化), which can also be translated as “the Chinese path to modernization,” and “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era” (习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想). We can expect these two phrases to continue to perform strongly over the next five years, as they serve as umbrella terms that subsume other terms referring to different aspects of governance.
With just a few exceptions, nearly all key terms listed in the CMP scale shrank this month in terms of frequency of use, with most returning to their levels before the “Two Sessions.” One notable exception was “One China” (一个中国), a phrase related to the question of Taiwan and cross-strait relations. The rise in frequency of “One China” was likely due, however, to the high density of foreign visits and diplomacy-related exchanges in the People’s Daily. In many of these contexts, there were references to “One China” as foreign leaders and others were quoted as affirming China’s position on the issue.
Three other phrases rising in frequency were related to Party building and were driven higher as a result of the focused push on thematic education. These were “political judgment” (政治判断力), “political execution” (政治执行力), and “political perception” (政治领悟力), which rose from Tier 4 to Tier 3.
Notable among the terms that dropped more than the average was the “Four Confidences” (四个自信), a formula affirming the strengths of CCP rule and listed among the so-called “Six Adheres” introduced in full form at the 20th National Congress, and “pilot at the helm” (掌舵领航), a phrase meant to signal Xi’s power at the top of the Party, and rationalize his rule as a historical necessity. The “Four Confidences” dropped from Tier 1 to Tier 3 in April, while “pilot at the helm” dropped from Tier 2 to Tier 4.
Interestingly, a set of phrases associated with more consultative and law-based forms of governance also dropped significantly in April. These were “consultative democracy” (协商民主) and “good governance” (善治), which both dropped from Tier 3 to Tier 5, and “law-based government” (法治政府) and “judicial justice” (司法公正), which dropped from Tier 4 to Tier 6.
After being slightly boosted by the “Two Sessions” in March, the various permutations of Xi Jinping’s banner phrase for specific policy areas mostly underperformed in April, with the exception of “Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization” (习近平生态文明思想), Xi’s catchphrase for environmental policy and sustainable development. This phrase has leveled up for two consecutive months, moving steadily from Tier 5 to Tier 3. “Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law” (习近平法治思想) fell from Tier 3 to Tier 4, while “Xi Jinping Thought on a Strong Military” (习近平强军思想), the general secretary’s signature national security phrase, and “Xi Jinping Economic Thought” (习近平经济思想) both declined from Tier 4 to Tier 5.
Perhaps most perplexingly, “Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy” (习近平外交思想), the general secretary’s banner-related buzzword for foreign policy, dropped sharply from Tier 4 to the bottom of the CMP scale in Tier 6. Despite a busy month of diplomacy, as outlined above, the phrase was mentioned just twice in the People’s Daily.
The “Two Establishes” (两个确立), a crucial phrase over the past year in signaling the legitimacy of Xi Jinping’s rule, experienced a sharp decline by almost two-thirds, dropping to Tier 2. The phrase refers to 1) the establishment of Xi as the “core” of the CCP leadership, and 2) the establishment of Xi’s ideas (his banner phrase, in other words) as the leading thought of the Party. The same was true for the similar-sounding “Two Safeguards” (两个维护), which is about protecting 1) Xi’s “core” status and 2) the authority and centralized leadership of the Party. Again, these were not rhetorical setbacks for Xi — but rather expected moderations in frequency. They have simply been climbing down from their peaks at the 20th National Congress and the “Two Sessions.”
The following table shows the key terms we reviewed for the month of April 2023 and how they rated on our scale:
The Centrality Index
Beginning in April, our tallies for leaders in the Central Committee appearing in the People’s Daily include only those from the 20th Central Committee. Keeping with practice throughout 2022, Xi Jinping was far and away the most mentioned leader in the CCP’s Central Committee, remaining at the white-hot top of the CMP scale in Tier 1. Nevertheless, Xi Jinping experienced what might appear to be a sharp downturn in overall mentions — just 616 articles as opposed to 818 in March, a 25 percent drop. But this was likely the result, again, of moderation that could be anticipated after the March peak corresponding to the “Two Sessions.”
Continuing with a pattern that has been consistent on a monthly basis through 2021 and 2022, all other central leaders were arrayed across Tiers 3, 4, 5 and 6 in April 2023 — leaving a full tier gap between Xi Jinping and the rest of the leaders on the Politburo Standing Committee. Wang Yi (王毅), China’s top diplomat as director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, topped the list of central leaders who were not Xi Jinping. Wang was solidly in Tier 3 thanks to visits by foreign leaders and delegations. He accompanied Xi Jinping to attend 12 foreign affairs events, and he personally received leaders from 13 countries and international organizations. Wang has remained in the spotlight since February, and his consistently strong showing perhaps suggests that foreign policy is the focus of the new administration at the moment.
Li Qiang (李强), in his first full month as China’s premier, and Zhao Leji (赵乐际), the newly elected chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, followed closely behind Wang Yi. Both were solidly in Tier 3, performing strongly thanks to busy schedules of diplomatic engagements, meeting with visiting leaders of different countries, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Li Qiang was also mentioned for his tours of local economic development in Guangxi and Yunnan, during which he emphasized “high-quality development” as the top priority.
Wang Huning (王沪宁), chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference, was mentioned in just 10 articles in April, placing him in Tier 4. It should be noted, however, that four articles related to his activities in association with the United Front Work Department, including meetings with Taiwanese entrepreneurs, made it to the front page. During a themed study session on united front work on April 18, Wang stressed the importance of unifying thoughts and actions with “Xi Jinping Thought.”
As we mentioned at the outset of this report, April was an especially busy month for diplomatic engagements. Many leaders and delegations visited China, with French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) being given prominence in the state media. Both leaders appeared in Tier 3, leading the pack, and the rest were arrayed across Tiers 4-6. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, appeared in Tier 4 with 11 mentions.
In 1993, Brazil became the first Latin American country to establish a strategic partnership with China. On April 17, shortly after Lula’s visit to China, the People’s Daily ran a commentary under the byline “He Yin” (和音), marking it as an official commentary, that was called, “Charting a New Future for China-Brazil Relations in a New Era” (开辟新时代中巴关系新未来). The commentary emphasized the status of both countries as developing countries and emerging markets and said that China’s “Belt and Road” initiative could serve Brazil's re-industrialization strategy.
With seven mentions in April, Russian President Vladimir Putin entered Tier 5. In an unprecedented first for the People’s Daily, Putin was joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was mentioned in five articles for the month. Zelensky’s mentions were rare for a newspaper that has systematically ignored the leader since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — a telling sign of China’s position in the conflict. In the nine months following Russia’s invasion, Zelensky was mentioned just once, in October 2022, in a note of congratulation for Xi Jinping as he was reappointed as the CCP’s general secretary. He was not mentioned again until March this year, when he appeared in a single article in the People’s Daily congratulating Xi for his “re-election” to a third presidential term. This mention, published in the paper the very day Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow, was likely a signal flare, CCP style, meant to indicate that China was ready to play the role of peacemaker in Ukraine.
The five mentions of Zelensky in April corresponded to China’s first overtures on what it continues to call the “Ukraine Crisis.” They reported Xi Jinping’s call with the Ukrainian president on April 26, the first time the two have spoken since Russia’s invasion, and mentioned China’s proposals for peace. But as David Bandurski noted in “Speak Plainly, Mr. Chairman,” the Chinese readout was shot through with official jargon and made a point of using the exchange once again to signal the power of Xi Jinping. Two days after the readout, the People's Daily published a commentary called, "‘Promoting a Political Solution to the Ukraine Crisis with Utmost Sincerity ( "以最大诚意推动政治解决乌克兰危机”), followed by another “He Yin” commentary called “China Will Continue to Play a Constructive Role for a Political Solution to the Crisis in Ukraine” (中国将继续为政治解决乌克兰危机发挥建设性作用).
It must be noted that since the April crest of mentions of Zelensky, the Ukrainian president has returned to obscurity in the newspaper — never mentioned despite the fact that Ukraine remains a strong story overall in the state media.
US President Joe Biden was mentioned just once in the People’s Daily in April, putting him down in cold Tier 6. This coverage was related to a mass shooting in the state of Alabama, and the president’s statement of condolence to the victims, as well as his calls for bipartisan action to curb gun violence. This coverage also fit with the general tone of much coverage of the United States, dealing with the dark side of US politics and society, such as surveillance on citizens and hate crime., There were a total of 29 such articles appearing in the People’s Daily in April, averaging nearly one per day.
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