China’s image and public diplomacy: expansion and controversy

At the end of 2008, the year China stunned the world with the spectacular staging of the Beijing Olympics, the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of CPC summoned representatives and officials of 28 parties and ministries for a meeting to discuss how to improve China’s national image. The meeting emanated from the growing realization that although for the past 30 years, China had experienced sound economic development, satisfactory political and social stability and had just concluded a remarkable Olympic Games, China’s image in the international arena did not quite match its national power. The western media has propagated a negative relentlessly –- a singularly one-sided and biased image of China, but it is now time for the Chinese media to take the initiative to promote China’s national image in a comprehensive and objective manner.
Cross-cultural communication Currently, Confucius Institutes or Confucius classrooms have been established throughout the world. They provide free fortnightly classes. While China provides all the funding, teachers, and teaching materials, for the foreign institutions as a collaborator all they need to do is to provide training space and students for the classes.
The biggest issue is, if a government has tarnished its own image domestically due to dictatorship, corruption, low social welfare, violation of human rights and the rising discontent amongst its own people, how can it persuade the international society to accept a positive image of it? Therefore, the China Image will be popular internationally only if its government’s domestic image improves amongst its own people by providing welfare, freedom and human rights for all.

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