`China needs US style of media campaign to improve image`

A top diplomat says Beijing should counter perceptions of a "China threat".

Beijing: Beijing should come out of its shell and step up public diplomacy to counter perceptions of a "China threat", a top diplomat said here while advocating for aggressive American-style of media campaign to improve its image abroad.

"While China has made progress in communicating with foreign political sectors, it lacks experience in handling relations with the media and the public in foreign countries," Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said addressing the 2010 International Forum on Public Diplomacy.

China needs adequate public diplomacy to effectively present its image to other countries which are now more interested in its story but lack thorough understanding of the country, Fu, a Mongol by origin and one of the few women ministers in the country, said.

While the world`s impression on China has been quite one-sided, either playing up a "China threat" while talking about its development or a "China collapse" in terms of the country`s difficulties, the prejudice is mainly because of lack of information, Fu was quoted in the official media.

Her remarks went down well foreign media corps here as China is regarded as the least interactive countries as far as media-government interaction was concerned.

Though Beijing has a large foreign media presence, the government`s interaction is confined to media briefings by the Foreign Ministry, where little is revealed other than the stated positions of its foreign policy.

The vast number of media corps has no interactive platforms with rest of the ministries or the ruling Communist party, which makes them to rely mostly on the official media or handouts.

Fu said while many blame the foreign media for their unbalanced reports on China, the country`s image in foreign press depends on how it presented itself more completely and cited the way US conducted media campaigns in the Muslim world in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to improve its image.

The US has focused increased attention on public diplomacy since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she said.

Such diplomacy, especially in Muslim-majority nations, has been considered to be "of strategic importance in the war on terrorism" and to "promote better appreciation of the United States abroad", she said.

About the perception that the world media was biased against China, she said "even if the host tells the audience the next show they are about to see is terrible, they can`t decide for the audience, so the performers have to get on stage and let others see what they`ve got, and decide for themselves”.

China needs to conduct and plan a more vivid and active presentation of itself which may be as simple as presenting the daily life of the Chinese, Fu said.

PTI

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