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Frame analysis and the study of Chinese politics


Many of the Chinese government's documents and some of Chinese leaders' speechs are easily accessible to researchers. However, due to the vague jargon the Chinese government uses to describe its work, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, one cannot simply read China's offical statements to grasp what it prioritizes and what its intentions are.

My approach

I adapted frame analysis to the study of China's foreign policy statements. The highly systematic, qualitative technique relies on manual coding supported by software. It occupies a middle ground between text-as-data approaches and interpretive approches. Conceptually, this approach to frame analysis builds on Entman's frame functions.

Image by Crew


This new approach can be used to:

  • trace how China's national interest is expressed in statements about China's foreign policy.

  • uncover shifts in the Chinese government's political priorities.

  • systematically compare how the national interest is constructed in different states.

Examples from my published work

Frame Analysis. The Routledge Handbook of Foreign Analysis Methods, Ed. by Patrick Mello and Falk Ostermann, Routledge, 2023, 133-149.

Reading between the lines: How frame analysis reveals the Chinese government’s policy priorities, The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Studies, Ed. by Chris Shei and Weixiao Wei, Routledge, 2021, 622-637.


Image by pine  watt
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