We must blame Allen, who touched off a burning neuron in my brain today, when he sent me a link to a website, where someone commented on how China can learn from India in the art of diplomacy. http://kanglaonline.com/2010/11/china-has-a-lot-to-learn-from-india-in-image-building/
So let the contrarian relativity debate begin:
My personally opinion is the opposite: In fact, China should stay away from the Indian/US/Democratic art of diplomacy.
Why? Because look around.
Truthfully, the Indian/US version of diplomacy involves dumbing down their people and all the people around them to make them stupid enough and gullible enough to believe in the BS they keep spinning in their “free media”.
Just look at the latest BS that’s being spewed and re-chewed and swallowed by US Media (Fox) and probably believed by over 20% of all Americans: Obama is reportedly spending over $200 Million per day on his trip to Asia.
And where did that rumor/lie/clown noise come out of? Some Indian “Free Press”, where no doubt, quite a few Indians also believed as the truth.
No, the diplomacy has not gotten smarter, nor has the PR gotten better in “democratic” India or US. The “freedom” loving people there just got down to a new low level of stupidity.
Well, you might say, well, if they are so stupid, why couldn’t China convince them with some PR?
Because, when people are stupid, they tend to gravitate toward stupid irrational notions that appeal to their emotions rather than their logic. And China is a symbol of their fear. Fear gets worse, when logic is flying out of the room.
No, China shouldn’t learn from India or US in this aspect, at least, Chinese people shouldn’t be get dumbed down by the 24 hour news cycle of outrageous rumor and escalating fear mongering.
No, we know there are corruptions in any government.
But you know what? With all the corruptions, China put up a great 2008 Olympics. But with all the Democracies, India embarrassed itself with the half-assed job at the Common Wealth Game hosting.
At some point perhaps, China will learn that China should not play the PR game with India and US. It’s rather pointless. Rumor mongering about China has become a sector of the news business outside of China.
Why throw money at trying to convince stupid people who still believe that Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya?
Shouting truth in a 3-ringed circus like the Western Media only makes oneself look ridiculous.
More likely the per diem daily of Obama’s trip to India was 200 million RUPEES, not US$. But at the rate the greenback is declining, who knows. LOL.
It’s sloppy journalism at work again. The gatekeepers did not cross-check facts properly. Either indifferent and/or ignorant.
When the China-Japan crisis broke, the agencies reported that the islands were called Senkaku in Japan, Diaoyutai in China and….Diaoyu in Taiwan. Ahem.
Basic fact wrong.
PR means paying for silence, really. It’s not of much use if the case is already pre-scripted against you.
Take Tibet riots and the torch relay protests.
The prejudice is inherent, so pretty-ing up the story wouldn’t have helped but cost China a lot.
In the end, China did best with one thing: to yourself, be true.
By sticking to its own guns, despite threats of boycotts and Steven Spielberg pulling out, the opening show silenced all critics.
The original link Raventhorn2000 seems to refer is here.
My personal take is that when we need to depend on “PR” (i.e. spin) to inform our opinions – and from that, through democracy – political decision making, there is something very wrong…
I am in agreement with r v and you guys. Ultimately, sticking as close to truth as possible is the best way to move forward.
I’ve read somewhere where someone said that China is great at filtering out Western propaganda. From what we are talking about, I actually think it makes a lot of sense.
Western propaganda actually “hurts” the West a lot. For example – the U.S. media like to always imply that China steals American IP. This propaganda creates this idea that the Chinese cannot invent. The end result is nobody (okay, very very few) in the U.S. bothers to read Chinese science journals or other publications to absorb new ideas.
On the other hand, Chinese people are not bombarded by this propaganda and have a healthy attitude towards also seeing what’s coming out of U.S. universities, various publications, etc.. Guess who is absorbing more knowledge?
So, the Western media talks about the GFW. But the propaganda net they cast over the Western mind in fact is a much much bigger firewall.
They can definitely win this stupid PR battle.
Allen and guys – why the heck do we blog and try to bridge the understanding? 😛
I guess we want the West to do well too.
While I don’t believe that PR-based democracy (that’s what we have had since the age of the radio) is any better (it may actually be worse) than “propaganda-based” authoritarianism, I do believe there is something China can learn about PR-based democracy – if only for the reason that is how the West is run.
India – in that sense – has lucked out. It is also a PR-based democracy – so in that sense, it has been a lot more adept at manipulating Western opinion for its own benefit.
@YinYang #3, I will disagree a little on the IP front. China on the whole still lags behind the West in many areas of economic and technological development. No one in China believes itself to be a technological and science leader … at least not yet. Of course, in so many ways, China is catching up already – high speed rail, nuclear power, green tech, super computers. The rhetoric about China being cheap and backward will soon be anachronistic – without us doing anything – but for China to truly lead, that – for me – is still decades away.
r v says
Manipulating opinions, that’s pure propaganda.
I would still prefer the Chinese people (and leadership) to be pragmatic, more than opinionly manipulative.
I am frankly very much sick of the billion dollar industry of manipulation of public opinions in the West.
I agree that China doesn’t need the US/India style diplomatic PR to persuade monkeys in cahoots. However, I think PR is essential to diplomacy for any state. Saying that PR is not necessary or should not be utilized is I think too big a write off. China needs its own PR. PR with “Chinese characteristics” as it has been doing over the past 5 years and especially in the last 2. The PR of soft power; spreading cultural awareness and increasing economic missions, or partnering with “win-win” strategies. Hence, a European trend lately to side with China as America once again brings out its election period daggers. America itself is doing the bad PR and damaging once again its image amongst the global arena with its self-fixated attitude towards international affairs.
Great argument though. Ugh. Journalists. 🙂
“The PR of soft power; spreading cultural awareness and increasing economic missions, or partnering with “win-win” strategies. ”
That seems to be part of a two-pronged diplomacy by China.
The first is its “core interests”, mainly issues of sovereignty – Tibet, Taiwan, DYT, the returned territories, etc – over which China does not compromise. Partly also bcos the public will never expect the government to be in nothing less than full battle dress, should challenges to sovereignty arise.
The Chinese govt will always need to be, and seen to be, assertive in these matters.
The second strategy is building relationships through trade ties,mutual co-operation and non-interference.
Both are long-term strategies, and Brand China looks to have been doing well.
There will always be short, sharp shocks like the Olympics fracas, Liu Xiaobo or the DYT face-off, but in knowing and sticking with what matters most to itself, China seems so far able to bear the fall-out.
American diplomacy operates on the McLuhan principle of “perception is all”. However, that is harder in a globalized world of instant and multiple channels of information/communication,imo.
For instance, America has tried to frame its attempt to re-dress the balance of power in Southeast Asia with the claim that the little people are feeling threatened by China; its presence (or more of its weapons sales?) is thus necessary.
The Western networks faithfully disseminate this line.
However, this attempt to spin a perception doesn’t reflect reality, nor does it go down with many people, imo.
An American role is welcome, but at the same time, relations between China and most countries are cordial, though not intimate.
I hope you are not a PR person; I stopped being a journalist. (*-*)
I agree with you. My main point is that China is absorbing more ideas from the West than the other way around (I guess partly due to Western propaganda that Chinese cannot invent).
Agreed on both.
I see it the same way.
In India’s case, I think this is what’s going to play out. Obama is trying to help secure deals for American multi-nationals like Boeing. India is going to need tons of passenger airplanes in the coming decades. Due to competition with Airbus (and soon Comac, see, “COMAC C919, Challenging the Boeing and Airbus Duopoly“), Boeing will have to build factories or assembly plants in India. (Unless the Indian leadership is pathetic and can’t even secure that.)
Indian leaders will be able to claim “win” because this can be seen as FDI and jobs for Indians.
The U.S. will play up the China threat to sell more weapons to India. Given the U.S. budget deficit, it will try even harder to proliferate weapons around the world, and guard her undisputed #1 position. (See our prior post: “Western human rights activism, where is the real humanity?“).
I’d also add, the Western media was somewhat credible with the Chinese back in the 80’s. In the last two decades, their credibility has gradually been flushed down the toilet.
I think that original article about India’s so-called success at media spin says more about itself as a toothless giant in Western eyes.
India will not be seen as a threat bcos it is so bogged down with its internal issues, which its ruling and educated elite foolishly believe is democracy in action; Churchill will probably laff at them as, there but for the grace of God, goes us. It is not through any particularly brilliant management of India’s image.
America media has lost credibility because it has not been able to keep pace with the dizzy reality of change around the world, esp Asia, and the way people in other countries see themselves.
America itself lost prestige when the financial crisis of 97 exposed its economic imperialism and the 2008 meltdown exposed its own double standards – the cronyism, lack of transparency, etc, that it accuses others of are just as rife.
You are damn right. In extension to the two-pronged diplomacy, the government’s focus on cultural awareness internationally and of course its rising economic dominance has flung the rest of the world at its feet, inviting as well as demanding the world to acknowledge the Real China. After all, the recent years have seen a huge influx of foreigners in China. I, myself when studying there came across westerners and asians from all backgrounds who would say to me, “China is really different to what I originally expected” or “China’s nothing like how they portray in the media”. Comments like that always make me so happy and supportive of the government’s role to promote cultural integrity beyond its own borders.
Mm.. and what is a PR person? I’m just a student who has my toes dipped in politics and international studies. Journalists aren’t all that bad. They live a hard life too. They need to write whatever pays right? It’s the corporate media system we should be ashamed at.
“China is nothing like they portray in the media”. lol.
true, daise. For eg, a friend wanted to know if there are policemen armed with machine guns at every street corner in Shanghai! She’s a well-informed journalist, mind you.
I told a friend from Nanjing about this. He kept quiet for a mo, and he said, yes, maybe 15 or so years, that might have been true.
上 海 每 年 一 变 十 年 一 大 变，says another; the change in China is so rapid that it has caused a lot of confusion, fear and envy. The negative coverage comes partly from this mix.
A public relations person: I think it’s a professional (sometimes) who is outsourced the job of schmoozing with media (usually) by corporate types.
Their job is to make the media lie to the public, to get their votes or their $$$, on behalf of their clients . lol! Something like that, i think.
Corporate media system – you put “vested interests” in such a nice way.
Riiight…so India’s “free media” is really not free and it’s total BS and spin…I wonder how do you “know” about India’s many issues (and yes, they have but then again which country doesn’t)? It’s because journalism is alive and well although there are a growing number of Bill O’s & Hannity’s these days. The fact remains that in India, there is a fundamental right to express your own opinions and thoughts and also certain level of expectation that both sides of a story be heard – unlike China which has a ham-handed approach to news. If you don’t believe that to be true, try something as simple as accessing youtube without a VPN before trolling.
We all know Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are blocked inside China. In general, web sites or services that harbor anti-Chinese government groups are blocked. That’s no secret and everyone knows.
The problem with your statement is you treat “fundamental right” as if it is some sort of “religion” incapable of doing bad and nasty things. This is the weakest form of argument you can make.
Of course, you can do some very quick searches and find there are many topics off limits in the Indian media. Those “fundamental” rights are indeed violated under your nose.
If you prefer to just focus on the “ham-handed” part – you will need to point to specific articles in the Chinese media demonstrating to us you know what you are talking about.
While I do not agree with one of the comment’s attitude of “China is NOTHING like they portray in the media”, you have to realize that the comments about the India news is full of spin and fearmongering is very true. And to cover it with the lame excuse of “well which nation doesn’t have problems” is simply no better as the Chinese had used the same statement before many times. In the end, the question is (to all that use that excuse/statement): we know that the OTHER houses have broken windows and some have even leaking roofs, but should that stop us from fixing our own home’s cracked walls?
I have access to various news programs, 2 of which are of India (created in english and for international/english viewers) where one is called something like SE Asia News. From what I have observed, especially when it comes to China (territorial disputes, UN-SC membership issues, Sino-Pakistan relations), there is indeed much spin and fear-mongering. Let me put something out there straight for you though: when it comes to India having a “free” media, it is indeed true in terms of having no direct state control as in China’s CCTV, etc., but they are still limited by popular opinion of the public, ratings, and the employee’s own opinions/bias along with their superiors (producer, manager, and whoever decides which news is “newsworthy” to be told). I do not like China’s “blanket censorship reaction” to their sensitive subjects as I do prefer they drop it and replace it with the spin tactics- which they dabble in but I would say they are still not mature in that “art”. Trust me, when you let the other side express their story but do so with “horror/suspenseful” music (like Jaws *shark* is about to bite) with the background of their military parade, etc., it really is no better than censorship- muting what they have to say [‘misinformation’ vs. censorship]. In a formal discussion or debate you wont have one side be muted and nor do you have one side get setup with themes or personal attacks that discredits them; neither of those would be allowed as that could degenerate the conversation into ARGUMENTS. And lets be realistic on the previous factor too; you want your ratings to be good and you do not want to get a bunch of hate mail from the majority. You are not (rarely) going to criticize the popular opinion on mainstream news. You are likely going to represent it. That means you WILL take a stance that usually ends up nationalistic or in favor of your nation’s set tone- state controlled or free. Of course, India, like America, has various news channels and newspapers. I understand that they definitely share different views; but they also serve different audiences because the audience usually “defacto segregate” themselves to watch news channels that already share their POV (i.e. conservative vs. liberal like FOX vs. MSNBC; “The Hindu” vs. various other India mainstream newspaper). This means that the ones offering dissenting opinions caters to a/the minority.
I already said this elsewhere: I do not like most (…in fact I dare say any) mainstream media news stations as the single source of information. In fact, even if I watch the various ones, I usually have to dig deep on the internet for further analysis, editorials, and other opinions on the matter. The hope of watching multiple stations isnt just to see their POV but also look for those minor details that may be in one but not in another so you can collect them and see a more complete picture. AND ooooh boy it takes a good amount of time and effort IF YOU REALLLLLLLLLLLLLY CARE.
I will say one last thing though-
Do those that take the time and effort to spin up news get a little more points over those who just plain censor? I certainly think so. But when I detect spin (especially badly made or just plain obvious), I will still roll my eyes until they are backwards- especially when those news stations then advertise themselves as some defender of objectivity and truth later on. Just ends up being some sort of p*nis measuring contest between them…
Surely you would be able to differentiate a “right” from a” religion”? or are you just confused?
and please point out what these topics are – “Of course, you can do some very quick searches and find there are many topics off limits in the Indian media. Those “fundamental” rights are indeed violated under your nose.” which you obviously can’t since even google, the search engine the world uses is censored in China and Baidu – let me not even go into that topic.
“In general, web sites or services that harbor anti-Chinese government groups are blocked. That’s no secret and everyone knows.” – right, youtube, facebook, twitter- I’m not sure how many anti-chinese government groups are there but I’m pretty sure it’s not upwards of 50% for it to be banned. or is it pure paranoia?
“ham-handed” – let me see, any number of topics covering scandals from milk, quakes, schools, fires etc.
Be content with your own interpretation of free speech – you are entitled to your opinions but not your facts.
@ Hermit Crab – you are right that there are enough fear mongering amongst the media corporations in india (which is why I made the mention of Bill O’s & Hannity’s) but equally there is a significant percentage of the population with the same mentality as yours – they see through the BS thrown at them from team but have the ability to research a little bit more on the internet – akin to politico.org or NPR which gives them a slightly more balanced perspective. Unlike the default blanket ban enforced in China.
Good to hear that you think politico.org (which I can’t seem to access – you probably mean politico.com, which I can access) and NPR in your opinion give some semblance of truth and objectivity.
To me – that’s like saying the democrats know the truth while the republicans don’t (or vice versa – or substituting whatever parties or groups you want). The formats may be different, but both represent just different species of bats to me – i.e. they are equally blind animals.
As for your talk about “free speech” – we can talk all we want – but in the end, free speech is useful only in the sense of creating an informed public. I see no evidence that people in “open” societies in the West (or India, if you like) are any more informed than people in “closed” societies like those in China. In fact – based on my personal experiences interacting with people in those societies, I think it might actually be the reverse…
I would more likely believe India has a higher percentage (note: percentage of the India population with internet and not in actual numbers of internet users as China has a far greater amount of internet users and population) of people that CAN do more research on the internet but that does not make them balanced. As I hinted, most people are selective in what they want to look for and know (search engines like Google also use prioritized results based on popularity and other factors so they have a “selective” system as well- who will look on results page 14?) and those who actually look for alternatives views may or may not be open minded to change their own. Again, just hearing (reading) is not enough. I certainly prefer people who at least research and look into their perspective to be able to give educated/informed statements to back up their (biased/unchangeable) POV- as compared to those who only lightly search and spoon-fed by media spin and propaganda, like-minded peers or parents, and patriotism/nationalism/pride only to likely become internet ‘trolls’ ending every sentence with yo’mama jokes, LULZ and curse words should they attempt to get into serious debates (>>>arguments).
Also, I will go ahead and point out for you that India does have it’s own censorship implementations. Similar to China, they have a very anti-pornographic material stance- therefore ban on aspects of it and whatever they want associate with it. Also like China, India will place censorship and ban things they deem are related to separatist activities and motives as India has their own independence movement woes. And related to what was just stated, any inciting of hatred or violence between groups (particularly religious, but extending back to separatist activities as well) can also be censored. China may relate some of those reasons (rather in place of ~religious~) to what we hear frequently quoted before in ‘Western media’ as threats to “stability”, which include perceived threats to their POLITICAL stability, and “harmony” (social?). I won’t doubt the PRC government pushes their censorship limit more, but that partly just stems from the mass perceptions of the public with the PRC. I can only throw Singapore as an example. Recently, some report (forgot the name) came out and Singapore was noted as being one of the least corrupt nations rated (efficiency and money perhaps?). I always viewed Singapore as a fascinating case. It is a ‘democracy’ but one hell of a ‘strict’ one. The Chinese have also taken note of Singapore’s government tone and have sent ‘prospective leader candidates’ there to study… so I heard/read somewhere. However, current and past conversations with some Singaporeans I talked to did mention accusations of ‘police brutality and torture’ and disdain for their government’s ‘main’ party’s dominance (something like Japan’s case I suppose)[the democratically ‘legal’ one party system]. Just saying that had Singapore been in the same magnitude in ‘size’ and noticeably as China, how much worse in public image would “large and notable (ethnic) Chinese-dominated Singapore” fair vs. the Singapore we know, and how much better vs. PRC? Public perception and opinions can be too inconsistent. So I cannot (and I believe most others including you cannot) evaluate which case of censorship is truly like what.
—–and if you have the time:
I must also express to you on something regarding the firewall and censorship measures- they are not as impenetrable as your tone makes it out to be. Most computer savvy and well connected people can easily work around censorship effects via internet (GFW is part of the censorship blanket and is subjected to the same ‘weakness’ as it), local conversations, and connections to outside. It is a mistake to JUST ASSUME their middle class and up are utterly irrational and ignorant of foreign events (Note: I am with bias on both India and China about their majority of POORER populations to have effective access to information on these topics- they are subjected to 2nd and 3rd hand info- and really, they usually wont care for most affairs lest it affects them directly [hey have hardships to worry about]). The firewall and ‘blanket censorships’ most heavily effect the people that had no intention of looking into it more the most as they do not care; they want their entertainment in sports, songs, TV shows, dramas, etc. and could cares less if US social network site Facebook or Twitter is blocked or foreign news site BBC is blocked. Likewise, those of the “free” world that are like that usually just get information from parents (who get their news and POV from where-ever) or get spoon-fed by the media – CNN, MSNBC, or FOX – even if they KNOW there is bias. The (mid.cls. & plus)
Chinese are also not UNAWARE of their state-controlled news’s reputation in the world’s view in regards to bias and censorship; some, of course, are more discontent about it than others. CCTV has also attempted to gain credibility by allowing “blurps” of “banned info” at times – intentional or not – and demanding more media freedom at least to deal with RATING issues (trust me, it isn’t like they are the MOST watched item in China- not at all). There is no ban on discussions of alternative/foreign views (frankly it is impractical to attempt to enforce IMO if there was); the catch 22 is of course should you use them to attempt to delegitimize and/or protest the PRC government, especially on what they considered sensitive topics, THEN you get in trouble- and don’t give me wrong, I know some will make a mountain out of a molehill of this on purpose (in both direction of intents). So this ‘blanket censorship’ term really isn’t some big steel curtain; it is what it is- a sheet of cloth; they just throw this sheet out there when they don’t like something [which is why I consider it an “auto-reaction” more than anything else until they trust in power/effectiveness media spin to work just as well for them and China more – next gen. leaders perhaps?].
I probably can sum up the point above with the following: Today, China’s ‘blanket censorship’ is more there to take advantage of the types of ignorance that was already there than to “create” most of that ignorance- much like spin but in a very ‘primitive’ fashion. What is already there is nonchalant attitudes regarding certain issues for various reasons (mentioned before and also not excluding some disillusionment with Western media) and lack of willingness to be open-minded (all the “I hear you, but I am still right”, “I looked up your POV/story and why it is wrong”, AND “you’re just not ‘free’/you’re just hypocritical” scenarios) and take the time to analyze situations more (and by no means does it not take a good amount of time).
Below are the set of rules governing just films. You care to look into rules for other forms of Indian media? Yes, your “fundamental right” to express in India are only restricted by some hundreds of rules. So, how “fundamental” exactly do you think your rights are in expression in India?