The COVID-19 pandemic has dented China’s image as an efficient party-state, given how an effort to cover up the outbreak and the resulting delays in reporting led to the virus spreading beyond its origins in Wuhan in Hubei province to the rest of the country as well as rapidly across the world. This article examines China’s massive external propaganda effort launched as part of the effort to repair the damage to its global image and interests. It notes how China has not let the situation stop it from pursuing its traditional foreign policy and security interests, including, of competition with the USA. The article also argues that it is the ruling Communist Party of China’s concerns about its legitimacy at home that have determined the nature and scale of Chinese responses to the pandemic outside its borders. © 2020 SAGE Publications.