Asia Pacific

This is the first of what I intend as a series of occasional postings about public diplomacy and soft power in and towards Asia, focusing principally on the People's Republic of China. This site is understandably concerned with western approaches to, and practices of, public diplomacy, especially as they relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the challenges of international terrorism. My aim is to draw attention to non-western perspectives that acknowledge, but are not dominated by, events in the Middle East.

October 9, 2006

Written with Wang Jian.

In December 2005, famed Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige's latest work "The Promise" opened to tepid reviews from his fellow countrymen. With production costs exceeding $35 million, the film failed to capture the hearts of a traditionally accepting audience. While Chinese have come to expect sub-par films in the past, a more market-driven movie industry seemed to have promise, just not the Promise.

This article is interesting because it demonstrates an increasing Chinese understanding of spin and damage control, something suggesting a more sophisticated style of diplomacy.

From China Daily:


Without firing a shot, China is winning its "war" to gain de facto incorporation of Taiwan into the mainland orbit. That's a tortuous way of saying that it may not be long until Taiwan is no longer a de facto state.

Do you remember Hu Jintao's April 2006 visit to Washington, D.C?

February 22, 2006

It was bound to happen. The iconic flagship of our voyage into the digital age has run up against the hard realities of state power and international relations. Internet naiveté is giving way to global realpolitik. Now that Google is in a major flap over its deal with the Chinese government to censor itself, what will become of Google’s “foreign policy?” And what, if anything, should the American government do? This case simply foreshadows the complexities of designing “foreign policy” in the digital age.

Two recent developments in China point to the tools of media and public opinion control available to the Chinese government and how they are used.

Most recently, Japan-China relations have deteriorated on the heels of an old dilemma: How Japan handles history.

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