The New Silk Road on Facebook: How China’s official media cover and frame a national initiative for global audiences
The New Silk Road has been considered as China’s core foreign policy since 2013. This initiative is paralleled by the expansion of China’s official media on Western networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These projects indicate China’s ambitious plans for promoting its hard power and soft power. This study examines the news production and framing of the New Silk Road by China’s official media on Facebook, as well as predictors for explaining audience engagement with these news outlets. By examining 43,239 posts relating to the national initiative, this study finds that China’s media build distinct news topics and sentiments for the New Silk Road and countries involved in the policy to achieve the official goal of “spreading China’s voices.” Moreover, news topics and sentiment play significant roles in encouraging Facebook users to like, share, and comment on news stories about the New Silk Road.
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