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Racism and xenophobia towards China and people with Chinese ethnicity following COVID19: a content analysis of replies to Donald Trump’s controversial tweets

Faculty Advisor




Twitter, social media, xenophobia, racism, Chinese ethnicity

Abstract (summary)

This content analysis examined public reactions to Twitter posts made by Donald Trump referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus”. Fifty replies were open coded from which eight themes emerged: endangerment, stigmatization, xenophobia, accountability, accuracy, inferiority, visual promotion, and written promotion. The themes correspond to four meta-themes regarding China, its population, and people with Chinese ethnicity including: explicit opposition to racism towards China and its population, neither an opposition nor a promotion of racism, an implicit promotion of racism, and an explicit promotion of racism. The most prevalent theme addressed xenophobia and more specifically, an opposition to racism towards people with Chinese ethnicity. While most replies to Trump’s Tweets demonstrated an opposition to xenophobia, 14 of the 50 Tweets analyzed explicitly promoted racism.

Publication Information

Ammar, Dylan. 2020. "Racism and Xenophobia Towards China and People with Chinese Ethnicity Following COVID-19: A Content Analysis of Replies to Donald Trump’s Controversial Tweets." Crossing Borders: Student Reflections on Global Social Issues 2(1). doi:10.31542/cb.v2i1.1986.


Item Type

Student Article




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)