The Image of China in English Versions of State Leaders’ Address —A Case Study of Xi Jinping’s Address from 2016 to 2018


China is playing a more and more important role in the global development, which makes it much urgent to study and learn how to spread a more favorable Chinese image to the world. This thesis applies method of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and mathematic statistics to analyze addresses of Xi Jinping. The first part gave a brief introduction on the research background and theory of CDA. Secondly, it elaborated the statistics collection of Xi Jinping’s speech and categorized by its theme and analyzed foreign sayings, Chinese idioms and stories quoted in his speeches. Thirdly, it discussed modalities in English versions of Xi Jinping’s speeches by model verbs, tense and imperative tone. Fourthly, the paper gives examples on how transformation was made through nominalization and passivization. Fifthly, it illustrated how China’s image was spread to the world from three aspects. Lastly, the paper summarized and concluded that there is potential and space to build a positive and friendly Chinese image and improve international communication capacities and influences in the future.

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Qiao, X. and Ma, X. (2019) The Image of China in English Versions of State Leaders’ Address —A Case Study of Xi Jinping’s Address from 2016 to 2018. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 9, 591-606. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2019.96043.

1. Introduction

1.1. Research Background

As China’s national strength gradually grows stronger, its discourse power gradually increases, and China is even more important in international affairs. As a world leading power, China’s image in international exchanges and cooperation directly affects the interpretation of China’s foreign policy and China’s role in international affairs. Since the 18th National Congress, Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of international communication, construct a system of foreign discourse, enhance creation, appeal and credibility of foreign discourse so that we can tell a good Chinese story, spread the voice of China, and elaborate the story of China (Wen, 2016: p. 35). The party’s 19th National Congress report also emphasized that: “Strengthen cultural exchanges between China and other countries, focusing on promoting our own culture and taking others into consideration so as to promote international communication capacity building, tell good Chinese stories, show a three-dimensional, authentic and comprehensive China and improve soft power of national culture.” (Xi, 2017). In order to strengthen the construction of the international discourse system, the Chinese Foreign Languages Bureau issued the “2018 Annual Bidding Announcement of the Research Mechanism on the Construction of the international discourse System of the Chinese Foreign Languages Bureau” in February 2018. One of the directions is to research on the construction of the international discourse system of Xi Jinping’s socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The author did investigation and found out that the current translated versions of state leaders speeches, especially Xi Jinping’s speeches, were studied only by a few researchers and lacking of systematic research. To this end, the author has compiled all the important speeches of Xi Jinping in the past three years, which starts from 2016 to 2018, and classified the contents of the speech to study the image of China in the process of translating it into English.

According to the recorded statistics of Xi Jinping’s important speeches, the author selected the most important speeches of Xi Jinping in the two major news websites of Xinhua Net and Xinhua Net and are two important and influential news websites in China with high reliability. After collecting statistics, the author selected 19 important speeches (Bilingual) in 2016, 17 important speeches (Bilingual) in 2017, 21 important speeches (Bilingual) in 2018, in total it’s 57 bilingual texts in three years, which is used as research corpus.

1.2. Critical Discourse Analysis

Critical discourse analysis (CDA) mainly studies the interrelationship between ideology, society and discourse, reveals how to use words to influence people’s thoughts, express ideas, and maximizes the audience’s acceptance and understanding (Chen et al., 2017). As a political discourse, the leader’s speech is usually used to promote political thoughts, maintain rights relations, and gain public recognition (Hu & Li, 2017). Therefore, certain language skills and strategies were used. On the website of CNKI, when searching for “critical speech analysis speeches”, only 141 related articles were found, which has gradually increased since 2005, but the overall number is still small.

As China gradually strengthened contacts with other countries in the world, the speech of the leaders as an important media form plays a vital role in building China’s image. By analyzing discourse corpus and revealing the ideology reflected by it, the superstructure will thus be consolidated (Huang, 2017). The critical discourse analysis is the main method used to study the ideology behind the language.

Critical discourse was first proposed by the British linguist Fowler in Language and Control (Zheng, 2011: p. 40). In 1989, Fairclough published Language and Power and in 1995 published Critical Discourse Analysis (Zhou & Zhou, 2011: p. 53).

Fairclough (1992) proposed a framework for critical discourse analysis (as shown in Figure 1), namely the generation, dissemination and acceptance of discourse. This framework shows that discourse is the product of social practice or discourse practice. Discourse analysis can reflect the essence of social practice (Liu, 2012). In this thesis, through the analysis of Xi Jinping’s speech discourse, we can reveal the Chinese image behind the discourse. Critical discourse analysis generally analyzes the meaning of discourse from four aspects, namely, 1) classification; 2) transitivity; 3) modality; 4) transformation (He, 2014). Halliday believes that transitivity is a semantic category. When dealing with multiple bilingual texts, the advantages are not obvious. Therefore, this paper mainly analyzes the three aspects of classification, modality and transformation. The classification is to explain the text from the macro discourse level. And transformation is to analyze the text from the micro-sentence level, from the macro and micro aspects of the summary can reveal the image of China spread in Xi Jinping’s speech.

2. Discourse Statistics and Classification of Xi Jinping’s Important Speech

The discourse statistics and classification in this study mainly studies the topics of Xi Jinping’s speeches and the quotes of foreign famous sayings, Chinese idioms and narrative stories. The characteristics and meanings of Xi’s speeches are shown in summaries and classifications of topics and the number of special discourses. The international organizations involved in Xi Jinping’s speech mainly include: G20, APEC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, etc.; the forums involved include: World Economic Forum, “One Belt and One Road” International Cooperation Summit Forum, BRICS Business Forum, Bo’ao Forum for Asia , China-Africa Cooperation Forum, etc.

Figure 1. Critical discourse analysis framework.

2.1. Speech Topic Classification

In order to systematically study the content of the speeches, the author classifies 57 speech texts according to different categories. Xi Jinping’s speeches in the past three years were given in three types of occasions. One is the domestic political speech; second is the speech at international organization meetings; the third is the publication of signed articles on foreign media. In order to make it convenient for classification, the paper sorted out Xi Jinping’s domestic political speeches and statements at international organizations as “political exchanges”; classified articles published in foreign media and New Year’s greetings into “cultural exchanges”; and grouped speeches at various forums and economic cooperation organizations as “economic prosperity”; categorized speeches at international conferences such as the Nuclear Security Branch into “peaceful development”, and the data results are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Xi Jinping’s speech topic classification and number of articles.

From the figures in the Table 1, it can be found that in the past three years, Xi Jinping’s important speeches have mainly focused on four aspects: economic prosperity, political exchanges, cultural exchanges, and peaceful development. In the research scope, 29 papers were published on foreign media, accounting for 1/2 of the all research articles, accounting for more than half of the topic. The development of the economy and the strengthening of cultural exchanges have a large proportion. Political exchanges and peaceful development are involved. Environmental protection is not shown as the theme of speeches, but relevant discussions and concerns have appeared in most speeches. Economy and culture are the two pillars of China’s strong national strength and international communication. Xi Jinping has made the greatest efforts under these two themes, and also shows China’s desire to achieve economic prosperity and culturally developed Chinese dreams. China has also advocated peaceful development, similar to environmental protection. Although it is not the subject, you can still feel it between lines of each text.

2.2. Speech Quotation Statistics in Speech

In order to more clearly analyze the discourse characteristics of Xi Jinping’s important speeches, the following will analyze and discuss the content of the speech texts, and the classification statistics are as follows:

2.2.1. Foreign Famous Sayings

Table 2. Number of quotes from foreign countries in Xi Jinping’s speech.

According to statistics shown in Table 2, Xi Jinping used a lot of Chinese and foreign famous sayings and idioms in his speech to make it feel closer in this way and increase the sense of intimacy and identity. Every time Xi Jinping goes to a different country and region, he will first choose to quote the familiar sayings of the other party. Such words will undoubtedly increase the goodwill and recognition of the other party. To a certain extent, the citation of foreign famous sayings makes Xi Jinping’s words more intimate and more communicative. 2016 is a year when Xi Jinping took a lot of diplomatic activities. Frequent diplomatic activities have made Xi Jinping’s speech in 2016 the highest number of foreign famous sayings. In comparison, the data declined slightly in 17 and 18 years.

Example 1. Chinese: 老挝人常说“一根柴棍烧不成旺火,一根木棍围不成篱笆”。(selected from Xi Jinping’s signed article in the Lao media in 2017, “Working Together to Create a Strategic Community of Destiny”).

English: As a Lao saying goes, one piece of firewood does not make high flames, and a single wood stick does not make a fence.

The second half of the sentence is: 中国人讲“众志成城”、“众人拾柴火焰高”。Putting similar idioms from China and foreign countries together for comparison, using analogy metaphors has brought the cultural distance between the two peoples closer and has the same cultural admiration. This friendship has been unwavering and harmonious.

2.2.2. Chinese Idioms

Table 3. Number of Chinese idioms quoted in Xi Jinping’s speech.

Statistics shown in Table 3 show that Xi Jinping used a large number of Chinese idioms in his speech, which is also a major feature. On the one hand, foreign people have increased understanding of China, and on the other hand, idioms help to spread Chinese culture, highlighting cultural prosperity and cultural self-confidence. In the past three years, Xi Jinping has repeatedly quoted Chinese idioms in various speeches, and the proportion is basically balanced every year. Xi Jinping pointed out: “Chinese outstanding traditional culture is our deepest cultural soft power and a fertile ground for the socialization rooted in socialism with Chinese characteristics.” These idioms not only enlighten people with wisdom, but also highlight the profound knowledge and wisdom of the Chinese national culture.

Example 2. Chinese: “尺有所短,寸有所长。”(Selected from Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum)

English: Countries big and small all have their own merits.

Xi Jinping said this sentence here, emphasizing that all member states have equal status regardless of the size or strength of the country. The original text uses a metaphorical approach that is consistent with the Chinese audience’s acceptance habits and ways of thinking. When translating, I chose the translation method of free translation, which directly shows that countries big and small have their own advantages. It conforms to English expression habits, and quickly conveys messages to the audience, which facilitates the dissemination and acceptance of discourse.

2.2.3. Narrative Story

Table 4. Number of quoted narrative stories in Xi Jinping’s speech.

According to statistics given in Table 4, Xi Jinping tells a considerable number of stories in his speech. Some of these stories come from Xi Jinping himself, some happened to the people, and some people are extremely familiar. These short stories appearing in political issues have made it more interesting and attractive on the one hand. On the one hand, they are more grounded, the people can understand them, and the popular words strengthen the characteristics of the official texts easy for people to understand, which greatly promoted Cultural communication and cultural exchanges.

Example 3. Chinese: 电影《西雅图不眠夜》使这座城市在中国民众中有很大吸引力。(Selected from Xi Jinping’s speech at the joint welcome banquet of the local government and American friendship groups in Washington State)

English: The film Sleepless in Seattle has made the city almost a household name in China.

Sleepless is not only a classic in the United States, but also extremely important in the eyes of Chinese audiences. Even later, Beijing meets Seattle has been added, which further increased common memory and mutual affection of the two peoples. In terms of the communicative cooperation principle, Xi Jinping used the film as a bridge to connect peoples of two countries. There is a common discourse in common, so that communication and cooperation happen naturally, and it is naturally conveyed in greetings in a clever way to make people feel closer. From a cultural point of view, Xi Jinping incorporates the cultural elements of the other party in his speech, and suddenly closes the distance with the audience, making the audience more willing to accept and understand the following content. Among them, the translation of “具有很大吸引力” into “a household name” is very vivid. Knowing American movie was known well by Chinese people, the people of Seattle are naturally proud and happy.

Example 4. Chinese: 1862年,亨利·杜楠先生在《沙斐利洛的回忆》中追问:能否成立人道主义组织?能否制定人道主义公约?(Selected from the speech by President Xi Jinping at the UN Headquarters in Geneva)

English: In 1862, in his book Un Souvenir de Solférino, Henry Dunant pondered the question of whether it is possible to set up humanitarian organizations and conclude humanitarian conventions.

In this sentence, Xi Jinping first raised a question and then answered it. It tells the birth of the Red Cross and promotes the spirits of humanitarianism, dedication and selflessness. China has always been a part of the global development of global construction. By asking questions first and then affirming the answer shows that China has determination and confidence to help building a better world, which undoubtedly promoted China’s image to a higher level.

3. The Modality of Xi Jinping’s Important Speeches

Modality is a grammatical term used to embody the of the speaker’s attitude on syntactic and semantic category. It is used to express the degrees of necessity, obligation, and probability of the speaker’s perception (Wikipedia). Phil Clough believes that modality is the intersection of conceptual and interpersonal functions. As a system, modality refers not only to modal verbs in traditional grammar, but also to other forms such as tense and imperative tone. The language forms used in turn reflects the speaker’s purpose and emotion, which reflects the meaning of ideology. Here, through the analysis of modal verbs, tenses, and imperative tone, Xi Jinping’s important speeches texts will be explained from the perspective of critical discourse.

3.1. Modal Verbs

Modal verbs were less used in the English translation of Xi Jinping’s speeches, mainly because the Chinese government is committed to building its own internationally friendly and positive image. On the one hand, less modal verbs can be more soft and comfortable for the audience, and on the other hand, using modal verbs at the middle and end of the article is a way to call for or express strong feelings.

Example 5. Chinese: 我们要鼓励各国智库密切关注国际反核恐怖主义形势,积极开展核安全学术研究,并就加强国际核安全体系、促进各国核安全工作提出更多有价值的建议。我们还要做好核安全知识普及,增进公众对核安全的理解和重视。(Selected from the speech by Xi Jinping at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington)

English: We must encourage think tanks of all countries to closely follow the developments of international efforts against nuclear terrorism, actively carry out studies in nuclear security and put forth more valuable recommendations on work to strengthen global nuclear security architecture and enhance all countries’ In addition, we must do a good job to spread the knowledge of nuclear security and increase the public understanding of and attention to nuclear security.

In Chinese, “我们要…” indicates that it is necessary and obligatory. In the English grammar, both “must” and “have to” mean “necessary”, but “must” focuses on the speaker’s subjective attitude, expressing opinions or suggestions, yet “have to” focuses on objective facts, meaning “have no choice but to” or “being compelled to”. The two “we must” together indicates that China attaches importance to nuclear safety and expresses China’s determination and courage to solve problems. The original text here is to enhance the public appeal and show the urgency and seriousness of the problem. If translating it as “have to”, it seems to be passive and reluctant, and cannot reflect the will and spirits of China.

3.2. Tense

A general analysis and statistics of Xi Jinping’s speech will reveal that the tenses are mostly based on present continuous tense, present tense and future tense. The definition for them in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (4th edition) is “express incomplete action or state in progress at a specific time”, “express incomplete action or state what exists or is happening Now”, “at exists or is happening now in progress at a specific time” and “yet, but expected to happen in the future”. These tenses indicate that an action is happening or is about to happen. The Chinese government is committed to changing its image in the world, escaping from the stereotypes of negative “China threat theory.” To this end, Xi Jinping’s speeches are now trying to show the efforts and actions of the Chinese government in international affairs. Chinese people are not shouting with slogans. Instead, we have been engaged in practical actions. In this way, we hope to build a positive and responsible image of China.

Example 6. Chinese: 面向未来,我们两国要在以下方面作出努力。





(Selected from a signed article published by Xi Jinping in the Swiss media in 2017)

English: Going forward, we need to deepen our engagement in the following areas:

- Maintaining high-level exchanges.

- Breaking new ground in practical cooperation.

- Expanding people-to-people exchanges.

- Improving our Free Trade Area.

In Chinese, it is a series of short sentences composed of verbs. When translated into English, it becomes a gerund phrase. The gerund phrase enhances the speaker’s tone and shows Xi Jinping’s strong desire to promote friendly exchanges between the two countries. At the same time, the action seems to be going on, showing that China has taken a friendly step and left a good impression on foreign people.

Example 7. Chinese: 中国是国际发展体系的积极参与者和受益者,也是建设性的贡献者。(Selected from Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the AIIB in 2016)

English: China has taken an active part in, contributed a constructive part and benefited from the international development system.

The words “是” and “也是” are used in Chinese to show China’s role in the international development system. When translated into English, the current tense of “has taken”, “contributed”, and “benefited” is used to highlight China’s contribution and strength.

3.3. Imperative Tone

Example 8. Chinese: 第一,把握方向,构建亚洲命运共同体。第二,夯实基础,推动不同文明交流互鉴。第三,互谅互让,坚持对话协商和平解决争议。(Selected from Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Asia Conference on Interaction and Confidence Measures in 2016)

English: First, keep to the direction of building an Asian community of common future. Second, cement the foundation for exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations. Third, uphold mutual understanding and mutual accommodation and peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation.

The imperative tone is a simple sentence that directly expresses commands, needs, advices, etc. using verb infinitives. The tone is stronger, giving the audience a sense of irresistence and resistance. In the original text, Xi Jinping said that in order to ensure security and prosperity in Asia, it is necessary to make great efforts, which is a call and expectation. The simple imperative sentences in Chinese kept its manner when translated into English. Here it’s used to express the Chinese attitude and the power of discourse.

4. Xi Jinping’s Important Speech Transformation

Transformation refers to the process of translating verbs and active voice in Chinese into nouns and passive voice in English, also known as nominalization and passivation. Nominalization can weaken the process of the action and emphasize the results. Passive can effectively conceal the issuer or performer of the action, while also emphasizing the action itself and the impact on the recipient of the action, thereby deepening the reader’s impression.

4.1. Nominalization

Example 9. Chinese: 深化务实合作 共谋和平发展 (selected from the title of a signed article published by Xi Jinping in the Swiss media in 2017)

English: A Shared Commitment to Practical Cooperation and Peaceful Development

The sentence in Chinese is an imperative sentence, and becomes a noun phrase when translated into English. As the head of state, Xi Jinping used imperative sentences to express a kind of command and slogan, which is the embodiment of rights and state authority. However, when translating into English, the use of noun phrases weakens this tough tone, so that when readers see this article, they first feel the good wishes expressed by a friendly China, and it is very natural to draw closer to readers.

4.2. Passivization

Example 10. Chinese: 世界多极化、经济全球化、社会信息化深入推进,各种挑战层出不穷,各国利益紧密相连。(Selected from Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the 8th China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the 7th round of high-level consultations on Sino-US humanities exchanges)

English: The move toward multi-polarity, the increasing trend of globalization, and the quick application of information technologies have all been accompanied by growing challenges of various sorts, and have brought countries even closer than ever before.

In this sentence, “各种挑战层出不穷” was turned into a passive when translated into English. And the use of “been accompanied by growing challenges of various sorts” is both an emphasis and anthropomorphic, and it seems that the situation is urgent and the interests are at stake.

5. The Image of China in Xi Jinping’s Speeches in English from 2016 to 2018

Xi Jinping presented the concept of four “big power images” at the twelfth group study of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in the 18th session. These four images are the image of a big civilized power, the image of a great Eastern power, the image of a responsible big power and the image of a socialist power (Wen, 2016). The images of these four great powers have profoundly elaborated on the image of China from different perspectives. This article takes it as a reference and discusses the image of China in the English translation of Xi Jinping’s speeches from the following three perspectives.

5.1. Excellent Traditional Chinese Culture

The Chinese idioms quoted by Xi Jinping mostly reflect the spirits of hard work, courage, and enthusiasm. The Chinese people are hardworking, brave in exploring and never giving up. The Chinese people love peace and are warm and friendly. These excellent traditions and good genes have always existed in Chinese people’s lives. China is willing to work with the people of the world to solve problems and counter-frustration for common progress and prosperity in the process of economic globalization.

Example 11. Chinese: “积力之所举,则无不胜也;众智之所为,则无不成也。”

English: A Chinese adage reads, “Victory is ensured when people pool their strength; success is secured when people put their heads together.”

In 2017, Xi Jinping advocated the concerted efforts of the people all over the world to establish a community of destiny and build a more orderly and beautiful world, and called on the people of the world to work together, because the power of all is always higher than the individual. By quoting the famous sayings of ancient Chinese sages, Xi Jinping expressed that China has always been a peace-loving country since ancient times. This is also the philosophy and ideas we have been upholding. We take peace and harmony, unite together and love each other. In addition, there is also“艰难困苦,玉汝于成”(“Adversity makes one stronger, just as polishing makes jade finer.”), “甘瓜抱苦蒂,美枣生荆棘。”(“Honey melons hang on bitter” Vines; sweet dates grow on thistles and thorns.),“靡不有初,鲜克有终。” (“After making a good start, we should ensure that the cause achieves fruition.”) and other Chinese proverbs, often Appeared in Xi Jinping’s speeches, showing the excellent national spirits and qualities of the Chinese people who have worked hard since ancient times, are willing to endure hardships, and are good at beginning and end.

5.2. Political Discourse with Chinese Characteristics

Political discourse with Chinese characteristics is also an important way of establishing China’s image. In Xi Jinping’s speech, many words such as “a community of shared future”, “the Belt and Road”, “economic globalization” and so on have been mentioned. These words indicate China’s road confidence and cultural self-confidence, which has enabled the world to increase learning and understanding of China.

Example 12. Chinese: 让和平的薪火代代相传,让发展的动力源源不断,让文明的光芒熠熠生辉,是各国人民的期待,也是我们这一代政治家应有的担当。中国方案是:构建人类命运共同体,实现共赢共享。

English: Pass on the torch of peace from generation to generation, sustain development and make civilization flourish: this is what people of all countries long for; it is also the responsibility statesmen of our generation ought to shoulder. And China’s proposition is: build a community of shared future for mankind and achieve shared and win-win development.

At the time of the 18th National Congress, the “community of shared future” was formally proposed. When Xi Jinping entered the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, he renewed the concept, expressed China’s standpoint and ideas to the world. “人类命运共同体” was translated as “a community of shared future for mankind”. Elaborating “命运” as “future” rather than “destiny” is based on the gap between Chinese and Western cultures. In the eyes of Westerners, destiny is decided by God’s will, and human beings cannot change and create it by their own. The “future”, instead, represents infinite possibilities. With human beings cooperate with each other and unite together with each other, it would be possible to realize dreams.

5.3. A Peace-Loving China Declaration

China has long been unable to shake off the national image of “threat”, “autocracy” and “arrogance” in the case of Western countries taking the power of international discourse (Zhu, 2016). In his speech, Xi Jinping has been committed to spreading a positive and good image of China, which has greatly changed the impression of foreign people on China (Sun, 2017). A large number of words that show China’s friendship, unity, and kindness reflect Xi Jinping’s attitude towards shaping a good Chinese image.

Example 13. Chinese: 中华民族历来爱好和平。无论发展到哪一步,中国都永远不称霸、永远不搞扩张,永远不会把自身曾经经历过的悲惨遭遇强加给其他民族。

English: We Chinese love peace. No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation.

This sentence is selected from Xi Jinping’s speech at the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japan and the World Anti-Fascist War. Regarding world peace and development, Xi Jinping shows China’s position and attitude. He hopes that China will be understood and accepted by the world, and people in different countries and districts should put down their vigilance and make progress hand in hand. The translation of this sentence adopted the method of literal translation so that it could express the meaning of the original text directly. The simple expression is concise and vivid, and the tone is pertinent. It expresses the Chinese people’s wish for peace and longing for peace.

6. Conclusion

This paper analyzes Xi Jinping’s speeches through three aspects of critical discourse analysis, namely classification, modality and transformation. It is found that China’s image is built through various means in international exchanges, mainly by promoting excellent traditional Chinese culture, establishing distinctive Chinese political discourses and uttering of the Declaration of a peace-loving China to build a positive China image. Such an all-round and multi-perspective interpretation will help correcting the stereotype and misunderstanding of the international community, and help the Chinese people to increase their self-identity and form a good atmosphere.

Through the collation and analysis of Xi Jinping’s speeches in 2016-2018, this paper found that Xi Jinping’s topic is mainly based on economic and cultural communications. The contents are close to life, easy to understand. Adoption of metaphors, anthropomorphic techniques, a large number of Chinese and foreign idioms make it easier for readers to understand. With abundant narrative stories in the articles, it’s less unintelligible, and enhanced understanding and mutual trust of the people at different sides. The English translation of Xi Jinping’s speeches is a very important cross-cultural bilingual communication activity. When choosing language and showing attitude, it is necessary to use language skills to support, transform thinking styles and understand cultural background. The choice of vocabulary, modal verbs and prepositions in English translation must be dealt with caution, because these are important ways to express China’s attitude and build China’s image. It must be carefully considered and used reasonably to build a positive Chinese image. .

The English translation of the speeches of national leaders is of great significance. This is not only related to the expression of China’s international communication image, but also to the country’s international status and discourse power. Through the study of this paper, the author believes that there is still a long way to go in the study of political discourse. At the moment, we should put more energy into the study of political discourse, not only to study the English translation of Xi Jinping’s speech, but also to study the English translation of other leaders’ speeches; not only to invite more experts and scholars conduct discussions and researches, but also to develop a complete set of systematic standards. The author also found that the theory of critical discourse analysis is a very practical and effective method for studying leaders’ speeches. It is a good attempt and breakthrough. In the future, we should continue to use the method of critical discourse analysis to study leaders’ speeches and political discourse. At the same time, we should also expand the scope of theoretical research, use more theoretical methods to study leaders’ speeches in a multi-perspective and all-round way, and make more contributions to political discourse analysis and Chinese image transmission.


This research is a component of the 2019 Research on the “Translation+” Practical Talent Training Model with the Integration of CAT and Network, sponsored by the Higher Education Scientific Research Project of Shaanxi Association of Higher Education (Project No.: XGH19108).


20160116 Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

20160118 Xi Jinping published a signed article in Saudi media

20160119 Xi Jinping publishes a signed article in the Egyptian media, letting the friendship between China and Afghanistan as the Nile River rushes forward

20160121 Xi Jinping’s speech at the headquarters of the League of Arab States

20160121 Xi Jinping publishes a signed article in the Iranian media to create a beautiful tomorrow for China-Iran relations

20160326 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Czech media, “The Sound of the Times of the Sino-German Relations”

20160401 Speech by Xi Jinping at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (Full Text)

20160428Xi Jinping Attends the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Asian Conference on Mutual Cooperation and Confidence Measures and Delivers an Important Speech 20160606 Speech by Xi Jinping at the Joint Opening Ceremony of the 8th China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the 7th Round of High-level Consultation on Sino-US Humanities Exchanges

20160616 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Serbian media

20160617 Xi Jinping publishes a signed article in the Polish media

20160621 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Uzbekistan media

20160903 Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the G20 Business Summit

20161012 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Cambodian media

20161014 Xi Jinping publishes a signed article in the Bangladesh media

20161116 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Ecuadorian media

20161117 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Peruvian media

20161122 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Chilean media

20161231 President Xi Jinping delivered a New Year’s greeting in 2017

20170113 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Swiss media

20170117 Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Annual Conference of the World Economic Forum

20170118 Xi Jinping’s speech at the UN headquarters in Geneva

20170403 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Finnish media

20170514 Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the “Belt and Road” International Cooperation Summit Forum

20170607 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Kazakhstan media

20170609President Xi Jinping’s speech at the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

20170701 Xi Jinping celebrates the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the motherland and the 5th government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Speech at the inauguration

20170704 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the German media

20170707Xi Jinping’s speech on the world economic situation at the G20 summit in Hamburg

20170903 Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum

20171018Xi Jinping’s report at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (with bilingual full text)

20171109 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Vietnamese media

20171110 President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit

20171111Xi Jinping’s speech at the first phase of the 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Informal Meeting

20171113 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Lao media

20171231 Xi Jinping’s New Year’s greetings in 2017

20180320 Xi Jinping: Speech at the closing meeting of the first meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress

20180410 Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia

20180609 Xi Jinping’s toast at the Welcome Party of the Qingdao Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

20180610 Speech by Xi Jinping at the Eighteenth Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

20180718 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the UAE media

20180720 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Senegalese media

20180721 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Rwandan media

20180722 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the South African media

20180725 Xi Jinping’s speech at the BRICS Business Forum

20180726 Xi Jinping’s speech at the large-scale meeting of the BRICS leaders in Johannesburg (to make the beautiful vision a reality)

20180903 Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2018

20181105 Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo

20181114Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Papua New Guinea media

20181117 Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit

20181117 Xi Jinping published a signed article in Brunei media

20181118 Xi Jinping’s speech at the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Informal Meeting

20181119 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Philippine media

20181127 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Spanish media

20181128 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Argentine media

20181130 Xi Jinping’s speech at the first phase of the Thirteenth Summit of the G20 Leaders

20181203 Xi Jinping published a signed article in the Portuguese media

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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