Beijing's Campaign to Spread 'China Dream' Overseas May Fall Flat

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china-xi-jinping-march-2013.jpg Xi Jinping walks to his seat ahead of his election as China's new president in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 14, 2013.

A new campaign by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to promote President Xi Jinping's new slogan, "the China dream," around the world is unlikely to succeed, analysts said on Friday.

China's deputy propaganda minister Cai Mingzhao recently called on propaganda officials at all levels to "deeply understand the weighty meaning of the strategic thinking around the Chinese dream, and everything in their power to preserve its values."

He said the officials should extol and explain the idea across a number of forums, so as to "strengthen the impact and acceptance of the Chinese dream in the international community," official media reported.

But the campaign by the Party's powerful and secretive propaganda ministry to spread Xi's rhetoric overseas will likely fall on deaf ears, according to professor Xie Tian of the University of South Carolina.

"The China dream as propounded by the Chinese Communist Party isn't actually the dream of the Chinese people," Xie said. "It's closer to a sort of nationalistic dream."

"It's similar to the dreams of Japan and Germany at the time of World War II."

U.S.-based political columnist Zhang Tianliang agreed.

"This is the dream of the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party," he said. "From the point of view of ordinary Chinese people, they would rather like to be able to live in dignity, to keep their beliefs, freedom of expression and basic rights."

"Only then will they feel a sense of dignity and security," he said. "Their rights need to be guaranteed by the system."

Aims of China Dream

The China Dream, according ot reports, aims to achieve the “Two 100s” --- the material goal of China becoming a “moderately well-off society” by about 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and the modernization goal of China becoming a fully developed nation by about 2049, the nation's 100th anniversary.

It is said to have four parts: Strong China (economically, politically, diplomatically, scientifically, militarily); Civilized China (equity and fairness, rich culture, high morals); Harmonious China (amity among social classes); Beautiful China (healthy environment, low pollution).

Cai said the main aim of the campaign was to boost recognition of the China dream internationally, in a targeted campaign that sought to "expound, and authoritatively decode" the slogan, which was first employed by President Xi after a once-in-a-decade leadership transition last November.

The China dream should be allowed to "enrich the people of the world," Cai said.

But Xie said the campaign was unlikely to have much of an impact.

"These top-down propaganda campaigns always yield terrible results," he said. "It doesn't matter whether it's international or what."

"People are sick to death of all that Chinese Communist Party propaganda stuff, so it won't be any use."

'Soft power'

China's "soft power" public diplomacy movement, exemplified in global Confucius Institutes which teach Mandarin in overseas schools, has yielded considerable benefits for Beijing, politicians have said.

Beijing has also invested in the education of overseas Chinese in their cultural heritage, including language schools for those who otherwise might not write

However, official media reports didn't specify exactly who would be targeted by Cai's China dream campaign.

According to Zhang, Beijing spends around 40 billion yuan (U.S.$5 billion) annually on building its image overseas.

"But in spite of the fact that they spend so much money, even a relatively low-key event, like PM2.5 particulate matter pollution going off the scale, is enough to tear the dream into tiny pieces," he said, referring to some of  worst-ever air pollution readings in northern China since the beginning of this year.

And according to Xie, the recent onslaught of political opinion pieces against calls for constitutional politics revealed a huge gulf between the Party's thinking and that of more democratic countries.

"The ruling Chinese Communist Party daren't recognize the universal values of the international community," he said.

"That's why they keep peddling this highly ideological stuff; but no-one's going to accept it."

Reported by Shi Shan for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.


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