What is it about?

This article examines Chinese celebrities' UN-affiliated Weibo activism in the context of China's increasing engagement in the United Nations. Although accredited by the UN, on balance Chinese celebrities' activism has become more symbolic than real, and as a rule aligned with the Chinese leadership's domestic and international ambitions.

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Why is it important?

Our first research of UN celebrity diplomacy in China makes a significant contribution to the literature on celebrity diplomacy, public diplomacy and digital diplomacy. This article is also policy relevant and has recommendations for the UN and the Chinese goverment. Apart from targeting an interdisciplinary academic readership interested in diplomacy, we hope to reach policy makers dealing with China strategy in international organisations and foreign ministries.


It has been a great pleasure to research this paper with Saskia Postema, a Leiden University colleague and recent graduate of the Campus The Hague MSc International Relations and Diplomacy, and Charlotte Blanc, whose excellent online research assistance has been indispensible for this project.

Jan Melissen
Leiden University and University of Antwerp

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: UN celebrity diplomacy in China: activism, symbolism and national ambition online, International Affairs, May 2021, Oxford University Press (OUP),
DOI: 10.1093/ia/iiab042.
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