Monday, April 11, 2011

China Should Listen Up

Based on our readings and class discussions it seems that Chinese public diplomats have failed to read Cull's categorization of public diplomacy actions. If they had they would understand that listening to foreign publics is the "foundation" of all successful PD campaigns (Cull, 18).

China is relentlessly promoting its admirable culture and history, however not always in ways that will resonate with its audiences. As we saw in class at the beginning of the semester, one of China's attempts to promote itself in the United States involved rather boring video screens depicting accomplished Chinese citizens. While this would have caught my eye had I been in Times Square, it would not have held my attention and I doubt it would have much improved my knowledge or opinions of China.

If China were to elicit more feedback from its audiences it would have a much better idea of what programs will succeed and which will fail. In addition, as Professor Hayden said in class "They need to read audience analysis studies since the 1970's." China is aggressively pursuing international broadcasting operations in the US and around the world. However, much of its programming seems disingenuous  and reeks of propaganda. If it listened to its audiences, China would find that they are a bit more perceptive than the country believes and are turned off by these types of messages. It is telling that opinions of China are plummeting in the West, where it is attempting to implement these types of informational campaigns, but skyrocketing in the global south where it has invested in development aid. Clearly China is cultivating the soft power it desires through development actions, but loosing it based on unidirectional broadcasting.

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