The Construction of China’s National Image From Transitivity Perspective—A Case Study of Fighting COVID-19: China in Action


  • Zhencong Liu Beijing International Studies University
  • Hui Liu Beijing International Studies University



national image construction, transitivity system, Covid-19


Using the theory of transitivity system within Systemic Functional Linguistics as the theoretical basis and the white paper named Fighting COVID-19: China in Action, which was published by the Chinese government on June 7, 2020 as the corpus, with the help of corpus analysis tool, UAM Corus Tool 3, this paper uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the construction of China’s national image. The results show that the frequency of material processes is extremely high, which is 88.26%, while existential processes and behavioral processes occupy only an extremely small proportion, 0.73% and 0.09% respectively. Relational processes are in the second rank, 5.34%. The frequencies of verbal processes and mental processes are similar, accounting for 2.97% and 2.6% respectively. Through a detailed analysis of the six transitivity processes, a national image that advocates “people supremacy”, selfless collectivism, with strong executive ability and mobilization, and a great responsibility in the international society is found to be constructed. This paper lays a foundation for further studying China’s national image in the path of SFL. It also sheds some light on the construction of China’s image in the official government document.

Author Biographies

Zhencong Liu, Beijing International Studies University

School of English Language, Culture and Literature

Hui Liu, Beijing International Studies University

School of English Language, Culture and Literature


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