Hu Zhengrong et al: Improving China’s Say in the Wider World

There is an article of note (in Chinese) on the blog and site of eminent Chinese media academic Prof Dr Hu Zhengrong, which discusses the issue of China’s say in the wider world. The article was co-authored with Dr Li Jidong and was featured on page 11 of the 17 November 2014 edition of the Guangming Daily.

The article talks about improving China’s say in the wider world — and its current issue in China, as its growth has attracted attention, but also has meant the country is now exposed to more negative coverage. It notes: “The right to speak is not something that falls down from the heavens. It is also not something that is to be enjoyed solely by oneself. It is further not something that is “given” by other countries. What is needed is precision in creating, developing and attempting to get more chances to have one’s own voice.” It notes in particular the development of the new technology and the challenges it brings.

The article notes that on a more general level, the West still wields considerable say in the contemporary world, with much of the population still judging things as the West would judge it. However, it also points to the readjustment of power in the world, and the presence of new technologies.

China needs to pinpoint more how its message will be sent, and at the same time solve three key problems:

  • the absence of a well-structured (not fragmented!) and highly efficient system in communicating China’s views to the wider world;
  • more work to be done in agenda setting when it comes to key international topics; and
  • a better, more innovative way in expressing its message

It has a few ideas to start solving these issues:

  • identify, mobilise, and create a well-organised system to communicate the Chinese voice to the wider world
    set the agenda on its own initiative, but also tell the Chinese story and Chinese values — and to do so with more boldness

  • restructure (and end fragmentation) and better coordinate entities involved in communicating the Chinese viewpoints to the rest of the world

The article, in particular, mentions an extant issue — some messages China is sending to the outside world remain “hard”, “blank”, or too “politically visible”. These are as much issues for audiences inside China as is for viewers the world over.

One thing not mentioned by the article, however, are the recent series of video clips about Chinese politics made by Fuxing Lu Shang, which attempt to make politics more relevant to a wider audience. It will be interesting to see how organisations such as Fuxing Lu Shang are telling the Chinese story to a larger worldwide audience.

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