Aggressiveness in Chinese Foreign Ministers' Responses to Journalists During Press Conferences, 1996–2016

Feng Wu, Jiahui Zhang


Chinese foreign ministers’ press conferences are significant occasions for journalists to learn about the country’s policies and attitudes toward heated and important issues. This study analyzes and measures Chinese foreign ministers’ aggressiveness in response to journalists’ questions at press conferences between 1996 and 2016 with an IDAAA (initiative, directness, assertiveness, adversarialness, and accountability) framework. The results indicate that foreign ministers become significantly less aggressive over time and that the higher China’s gross domestic product ranking is, the more aggressive they are and vice versa. In addition, Chinese foreign ministers tend to be more aggressive toward sensitive questions, foreign journalists, and those from countries with worse diplomatic relations with China, and they tend to be less aggressive toward nonsensitive questions, domestic journalists, and those from countries with whom China has good relations. Finally, foreign ministers with overseas educational experiences are less aggressive than those who did not receive this type of education.


press conference, aggressiveness, diplomacy, international relations, China

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