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Xi wants to make China more lovable in the World. He may have a tough job.

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

From NBC News

It has been recently reported that Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, wants to make China more lovable around the world.

I don’t know if that will ever be the case. Perhaps likable but to strive for lovable with their certain stances on several key issues is way beyond a stretch. Pandas and little children in Beijing might be lovable but the communist party or overall reputation of China, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Maybe this policy will try to rebrand China’s reputation into a more likable country and less adversarial without making any changes to their domestic or foreign policy. Some cynics of China may say that their rebranding could merely be a “trial balloon” to see if there’s any goodwill earned without any changes in China.

I’m not sure what “stories” President Xi Jinping is focused on. Do they need better brand managers and PR consultants to help them improve their image on the world stage? What will that “international voice” look like? Do they feel entitled to increase their “international voice" because of being the world’s second-largest economy? If indeed this was studied, than how much time did Chinese Party officials spend on determining that their image has been suffering internationally?

According to Xinhau, the official news agency of China, the Chinese must grasp the tone, be open and confident but also modest and humble, and strive to create a credible, lovable and respectable image of China. Nowhere in this quote did I see two essential traits/words needed, “Integrity and Honesty.” Perhaps these notes or cue cards were misplaced, never to be retrieved again.

By telling the truth about the origins of Covid-19? I don't know where this virus originated but it would be useful to allow an international group of scientists to look into the origins of the Coronavirus.

Does this mean what I think it means? Is it too cynical to say China is not interested in changes its current behavior, they’re trying to improve the narrative? Most nations want to deal with the Chinese in business but make new friends? How will that be accomplished?

Recently, Chinese officials appear to be fearing demographic challenges as fewer women are having several if any.

In the 1970s and 80s, China had a policy of only having 1 child per household. In 2016, they changed it to no more than 2 children per household. As China’s population is getting older, the Communist Party this year is allowing parents to have 3 children instead of 2. Wait, what is their expectation there? If your country is facing a labor shortage or not enough young people having children, what do you do? Remove the cap on the number of children each family can have? Do party officials think they can change that trend just by changing the policy? Are their time affordability concerns about having more children? Enough daycare to meet these needs? Will they incentivize things were having more children will provide a tax benefit in China? If not, I’m not sure if this new policy will have that big of a difference? Perhaps those that approved this new policy are not completely aware of the challenges of parents in China.

Let’s look at the States, the new federal figures released last month show the number of babies born in the U.S. last year was the lowest in more than four decades. What should be the response by the Biden Administration and Congress, to announce a program to increase having babies among younger Americans? Will such an initiative make a difference here? Will young parents just say, “Look, our national birth rate is declining and the government wants us to have more children so let’s follow their lead and do so? There are so many factors that go into delayed childbirth generally, but economic forces come into play too, including child care and education expenses. In other words, superpower leaders are sometimes limited in how much influence they can have on parents having more children – if some of the economic conditions don’t improve, a push for more children may have nominal effects on demographic changes of having more children.

Do you know how China’s image can improve? When the United States ask China that they provide humane treatment of the Uyghur Muslims, it would be refreshing for the Chinese Communist Party not to pivot and then go on and complain about how African Americans are treated in the States. Or pointing to the homeless situation in America. How could a Super Power with streets paved with gold (at least that’s what I saw on the propaganda channel of the party? allow so many people without homes to sleep on a city street. By pivoting, the Chinese Government isn’t addressing the issue about the Uyghurs. One could argue that during the Trump Administration, the previous administration never cared about the alleged human rights violations against the Uyghurs. China will look for opportunities and the only way to deal with them is to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Yes, the US has significant crime and inner-city challenges but that doesn’t mean are Chinese are off the hook by their domestic policies. Besides, we’re an open society and are working through some of the challenges of our past history. Just because there are challenges doesn’t mean some of these issues are not being addressed.

You can rebrand your country’s image because of a troubled history or a way of describing something in a different way. Indeed, improving one’s brand might be useful on the world’s stage. Having said that, improving someone’s reputation will take more than a “rebranding exercise,” many Westernized nations may not at this point be willing to accept this new approach without some major changes by China domestically and internationally.

Another question to ask about a friendlier China might be, why are the Chinese doing this now? What’s the impetus for doing it now? Are they nervous about how the Coronavirus has certainly damaged their reputation? Is it something else? Why would the Chinese make a press release now about improving their reputation around the world?

Before we can decide if China actually improves its reputation on the world stage, let’s see if their actions moving forward domestically and internationally begin to align with this new rhetoric.


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