- Heightened tensions between the US and China are focusing attention on how China builds its image in the Global South, especially in Africa.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted China to experiment with new diplomatic tools, including using vaccines and PPE donations as forms of outreach.
- These follow more general developments in Chinese public diplomacy, including the adoption of Twitter as a diplomatic tool. Yet, while Twitter is useful for outreach, Chinese diplomats have had less success in using it to shift the online conversation.
- The COVID-related eviction of African migrants in the Chinese city of Guangzhou created a crisis for Chinese diplomacy. This paper shows that while the Chinese government treats Africa as a setting for innovation, the Guangzhou incident revealed that it still tends to revert to conventional public diplomatic tools in times of crisis.