Chinese Foreign Policy Reflected in Images of the Present and the Future: Psychographic Method

Chinese Foreign Policy Reflected in Images of the Present and the Future:
Psychographic Method

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2021.01.05

For citation:

Tokarev A.A., Prikhodchenko A.Yu., Margoev A.R., Tseleshchev A.A. Chinese Foreign Policy Reflected in Images of the Present and the Future: Psychographic Method. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No. 1. P. 58-77. (In Russ.).

This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 19-78-10144. The authors are grateful for help with the text to MGIMO students A.V. Fedotov and I.Yu. Shchedrov.


This article is the first attempt in the field of Chinese studies in Russia to apply the psychographic method to the study of Chinese society. The article considers the way Chinese citizens imagine the present and the future of their own country. During November-December 2019, when study was conducted by the authors, a database of 189 drawings was created, from which 785 images were extracted. These images were classified among 14 categories (“nature”, “war”, “culture”, etc.). The study shows that PRC citizens have high expectations of their future standards of living, strong faith in successfully resolving ecological problems, and concerns about China’s ageing population. Contrary to the expectations of the authors, images directly associated with socialism or communism are absent. The article concentrates on China’s image in the international arena and the role of Sino-Russian relations. Chinese citizens portray China as having tremendous potential and being supreme to other counterparts, while remaining a peaceful state. Russia does not play a key role, but is mentioned as an important geopolitical player and China’s partner (not ally). The study reveals a discrepancy between the images regarding China’s role in the world and verbal explanations thereof. Subconsciously, the respondents portray China as more powerful than other countries, yet at the same time deny the assumption that China is aspiring to become “number 1”. The same can be said about the image of Russia: respondents notice the importance of relations between the two countries, but in most drawings, Russia is depicted in the same way as other neighbors of China. 

China, Russia, USA, Chinese society, visual sociology, socioeconomic development, ecology, psychographic method, international politics, foreign policy.


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Content No. 1, 2021

See also:

Zvereva T.V.,
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Liberal approach to russian foreign policy. Notes on the margins of the book by V. Petrovsky. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No2



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