This article examines Chinese diplomats' use of Twitter during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Although Twitter is blocked in China, Chinese officials use the platform to experiment with new public diplomacy channels and directly communicate with foreign audiences. We argue that China's utilization of Twitter in 2020 functioned as a crisis management and public relations tool and as a mechanism for disseminating a strategic narrative (SN) that articulated foreign policy priorities. To illustrate this, we apply a qualitative content analysis to a selection of tweets from two China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokespersons and divided into three stages. In each stage, distinct narrative themes emerge and construct a cohesive SN across three dimensions: issues, role identity, and the international system. This study reveals that China's public diplomacy apparatus effectively reaches global audiences with well-structured narratives but also that this effectiveness remains very limited.