October 28, 2013

The Cyrus Cylinder, a small clay object dated from the sixth century B.C.E. and covered in Babylonian cuneiform script of an imperial decree by King Cyrus of Persia, is considered by many to be a powerful symbol of cultural and religious tolerance. Its international touring exhibition, spearheaded by the British Museum, has drawn broad global attention and is, by most measures, a resounding success.

Going global is an ambition pursued by Chinese film makers for decades. Yet the reality is Chinese movies make their fame on the world stage largely through Kongfu films. At the ongoing 15th Shanghai International Film Festival, Chinese film makers are trying to tell the world they have more to offer.

Seib is the author of Real-Time Diplomacy, a study of politics and social media that will be published in April. He says that stories about ordinary people have a real impact on foreign policy...