CANCELLED!! The Meaning and Function of Apologies in Danish and Chinese; Intercultural Clashes and Crisis Communication

Clouds which spells "sorry"

The cartoon of the Chinese flag with corona vira published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, offended the Chinese people, who felt that the newspaper should apologise. ThinkChina is happy to host Xia Zhang on a public lecture about the Meaning and Function of Apologies in Danish and Chinese, and its implications for intercultural clashes and crisis communication.


  • Under which conditions would the Chinese and the Danes use an apology in the same communicative situations?
  • What are the meanings and functions of apologetic expressions in the two linguacultural systems?
  • Why would potential intercultural misunderstandings or crisis occur in the context of social media communication?
  • How could we bridge the cross-cultural gap and promote better Danish-Chinese intercultural communication?

The lecture will address some of the above-mentioned questions by introducing the findings and big data in Xia’s PhD study in Carlsberg-funded Global English Business Communication Project and drawing its link with the online social media data (including the recent Jylandposten’s satire cartoon debate).

The aim of the lecture is twofold, including  (1) to raise awareness of the cognitive bias and perception gap of the cross-cultural face-sensitive politeness behaviours; (2) to  the promote cross-cultural understanding of nuanced sensitive language use in communication and its impact on intercultural interaction and intercultural relation management.

Short Bio: Xia Zhang

Xia Zhang

Xia Zhang is a cross-cultural specialist who has 14 years work experience within the higher education sector in both Copenhagen and Beijing. She obtained her PhD in 2019 from the Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School. Her research expertise includes (1) intercultural business communication and cross-cultural management; (2) facework, politeness, and rapport management in Chinese-Danish cross-cultural contexts; and (3) linguistic and cultural diversity in the global workplace. The collaboration and financing partners for her PhD study were Carlsberg Group and Carlsberg Foundation. She has lived in Denmark since 2009.

Practical information

Date and time: Thursday 12 March, 16:00 - 17:30

Location: University of Copenhagen, South Campus, Room TBD

Registration: The lecture is free for all to attend, but please sign up here.