War Metaphors in Chinese Digital Media Coverage of COVID-19
War metaphors have been found to be the most frequently used metaphors for conceptualizing diseases, epidemic and medicine. During the COVID-19 epidemic, war metaphors have been found to be widely used in both online and offline coverage. This study mainly focuses on how war metaphors were used in Chinese social media coverage about the COVID-19 epidemic. Using the method of semantic network analysis and the account of The People’s Daily on the Chinese social media platform Weibo as an example, the findings show that war metaphors are widely used in the digital coverage of COVID-19. Compared with defensive metaphors and war process metaphors, offensive war metaphors are appearing much more frequently in digital coverage, and often with the use of national collective subjects. These two characteristics highlight how digital coverage uses militarized metaphors to mobilize and inspire enthusiasm among the Chinese people, and to strengthen the Chinese government’s control in dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic.
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