Tactical Interaction: Public Opinion Crises and the Official Truth

  • Kingsley Edney
Part of the Asia Today book series (ASIAT)


The Party-state’s use of propaganda practices to exercise power becomes the most concrete and comes into the sharpest focus when there is a public opinion crisis. In a crisis scenario information spreads quickly and the potential for public emotions to manifest in the form of protests or other political action is higher than usual. Party-state propaganda authorities are forced to make urgent decisions about how to deal with narratives that challenge the official discourse and threaten to undermine CCP legitimacy. Although the authorities make day-to-day tactical decisions about how to implement propaganda practices in the absence of any particular crisis, when a crisis does occur the political stakes are higher, decisions carry greater consequences, and the Party-state’s priorities become clearer. Because certain kinds of public opinion crises have the potential to straddle both the domestic and international spheres, a focus on the Party-state’s tactical responses to crises provides useful insight into the relationship between domestic and international propaganda practices under conditions of globalization.


Public Opinion Media Outlet Chinese Public Official Discourse Beijing Olympics 
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© Kingsley Edney 2014

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  • Kingsley Edney

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