China communicates strategic narratives about artificial intelligence (AI) in digital media productions to create a shared meaning about its actions and its image in the global race to develop AI. Building upon the literature in emotions and strategic narratives, this study seeks to clarify which emotions are discursively used in China’s international AI narratives, and their function and significance. Specifically, the study investigates emotion discourses in AI-focused videos disseminated on China’s international broadcasting (CGTN YouTube channel). The analysis reveals that pride, hope and fear discourses have multiple functions in China’s international AI narratives on CGTN. Hope is used to represent China as a key competitor in the global AI race, who is catching up to the US. China uses pride to showcase its advances in AI applications, to highlight its transformation of traditional industries, and to identity itself as equal to the US. Fear is used to frame US’s perception of China’s AI developments, to suggest their crisis of confidence, but also to refute the “China threat”. Additionally, the fear discourse is used to deliberate anticipated risks, particularly on job loss and data privacy. These emotion discourses forge China’s identity as a future global AI power. The paper then discusses how these findings contribute to key debates about Chinese discourse and media strategy.
- artificial intelligence
- strategic narratives