China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (REUTERS)
China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (REUTERS)

China’s global image should be ‘reliable, admirable’: President

Xi Jinping’s remarks on the need to carefully mould China’s global image comes in the backdrop of a diplomatically more aggressive Beijing as it tries to counter western criticism on a range of issues.
By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda
UPDATED ON JUN 02, 2021 05:19 PM IST

President Xi Jinping has said China must improve the way it tells its “stories” to the world, urging officials to create an image of the country that not only matches its national strength but is also “reliable, admirable and respectable”.

Beijing, the president said, should be open, confident but humble and expand the circle of friends who understand China. Increase the appeal and effectiveness of China’s international communication, Xi said.

Xi made the remarks on Monday addressing a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Committee.

Xi’s remarks on the need to carefully mould China’s global image comes in the backdrop of a diplomatically more aggressive Beijing as it tries to counter western criticism on a range of issues including the origins of the Covid-19 virus, allegations of human rights abuses and territorial disputes.

Under Xi, who took over the reins in 2012, China has cast aside the CPC’s famous “hide-and-bide” strategy of keeping a low international profile in favour of “big country diplomacy” especially with the US and its allies like Australia.

China needed to develop an “international voice” to match its national strength and global status, official news agency Xinhua said, citing Xi’s speech at the meeting.

It also needed to strengthen propaganda efforts to help foreigners understand the CPC and the way it “strives for the happiness of the Chinese people”.

“He also emphasised the efforts to introduce the Chinese culture abroad and strive to shape a reliable, admirable and respectable image of China,” the Xinhua said.

The country needed to create a team of professionals and adopt “precise communication methods” for different regions, he said.

It’s the second time in a week that Xi has spoken about presenting a better picture of China to the world.

In a letter to China’s flagship English newspaper, China Daily, on its 40th anniversary on June 1, Xi said, “It should also better introduce China’s development philosophy, path and achievements, better present a true, multidimensional and panoramic view of China and make new contributions to promoting exchanges and communication between China and the world.”

Xi’s messages come amid frequent criticism of foreign journalists’ reportage on China by the government and the state media.

Calling it a response to the way Chinese journalists were treated in the US, Beijing last year expelled several journalists working for US news organisations as relations between the two sides deteriorated over several problems.

Separately, Beijing banned BBC World News from mainland Chinese television networks after criticising the British broadcaster’s coverage of human rights in the northwestern region of Xinjiang as well as the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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