Into high gear : China's public diplomacy
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
The Hague journal of diplomacy. - Leiden, 2006, currens
, p. 37-61
University of Antwerp
In recent months Chinas public diplomacy has had to move into high gear. Recent problems with the safety of Chinas food and toys exports, Beijings close relations with the regimes of Sudan and Myanmar, and telling pictures of Chinas environmental problems on newspaper front pages1 have seriously undermined the projected image of China as a reliable and responsible world power. Even more importantly, these issues have a direct negative impact on Chinas economy and domestic political situation. If the safety issue is not dealt with adequately, the label Made in China may become known as Buyer Beware2 and exports may plummet. If China distances itself too much from the international mainstream on Sudan and Myanmar, the call by various non-governmental groups and Hollywood individuals for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games of 2008 may gain support and lead to actions that could blemish or even disrupt the Games. Th e Olympics have become a two-edged sword: a major public diplomacy tool for China but also an international stick to urge the Chinese government to step up its compliance to international norms and values. Th ese recent developments illustrate the importance of image and public diplomacy for a country that is rising to play a more substantial role in world politics and economics.