Asia Pacific



Much that is written about public diplomacy focuses on Europe and the Muslim world. National news media in the US, headquartered in New York and Washington, equates foreign opinion with approving editorials in The Guardian and large crowds in Berlin. By those criteria, President-elect Barack Obama is wildly popular. Just elect Obama, the thinking goes, and America's public diplomacy problems are solved.

Not quite: The data indicate Obama was never as popular in Asia as in Europe. And it turns out President Bush was never as unpopular in Asia as he was in Europe.

In the aftermath of the Beijing Olympics, there's been much discussion about an increase in China's soft power, not least by Joseph Nye, the originator of the concept. [Link] Nye and others (this writer included) have evaluated China's film industry and U.S.-Chinese co-productions as a strategic asset for the Middle Kingdom. I was discussing the subject recently with a U.S.

November 14, 2007

This article originally appeared on the USC US-China Institute's web magazine US-China Today.

 

 

 

Dear User: Due to the large number of text messages you’ve sent to the opposite sex, creating the worst and their negative influence on society, we have already suspended your text message service. Tomorrow, please bring your wooden stool to the police station to execute moral re-education!
(Translated Chinese Text Message)

 

This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post on September, 20, 2007

Lesson 1: When in China, buy a bike.

In my previous contribution to this site I offered a brief and wide-ranging survey of contemporary Chinese public diplomacy which I described as "work in progress." China's relations with such odious regimes as Zimbabwe, together with its continued intimidation of democratic Taiwan, mean that positive developments, such as its increasingly affable and sensitive attitude towards Japan and its role in defusing nuclear crises in the Korean peninsula, are obscured.

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:

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