Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Wang, P. & Catalano, T. (In press). ‘Chinese Virus’: A critical discourse analysis of anti-Asian racist discourse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Language and Discrimination. 7(1), 26–51.


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Since the emergence of COVID-19, researchers have documented an increase in cases of anti-Asian racism and hate crimes. Research shows a possible connection between the ‘Chinese virus’ discourse of the Trump administration and violence in society (Arora and Kim 2020:387). Drawing from critical discourse studies we explore 2,071 comments from one YouTube video which documents anti-China rhetoric by the Trump administration in order to understand the underlying strategies commenters relied on in their reproduction and defence of this discourse. Findings show the trickle-down influence of Trump’s discourse on YouTube commenters, but also ways in which social media created a platform for building solidarity among racist groups, as well as sites of resistance. The authors conclude by suggesting more studies attend to this type of discourse and work to educate people on how to counter it.