= Is China really bad at public relations or does it know exactly what it is doing? =

My current impression is that the PRC is repeatedly making PR blunders in response to the international community and press demanding answers for for controversial moves made by them

The latest of such was the Chinese ambassador to France talking about the necessity to re-educate the Taiwanese after reunification

His colleague was also not able to present a better image about those remarks either

Before that it was the threats issued over the Pelosi visit, then launching military drills around the island, which I'm sure you'll agree is quite an aggressive move for a country that at the same time keeps saying they do not want to escalate things into war

Within the country, we could see displays of military sabre-rattling. Again, throwing guns around is counterproductive if the country wants to create a portrayal of a non-threatening nation

I also remember the interviews where ambassadors were asked about Xinjiang and mistreatment of Uyghurs and they always somehow fail to properly explain what is (if we are to believe them) "actually" going on

And of course, it is not always the Chinese ambassadors who make these blunders, we have all seen that WHO official fail to dodge a Taiwan question in a mostfashion

And there are more..

All these media appearances did not help alleviate insecurities people abroad feel about China. If anything, they would raise further suspicion and it is not something beneficial for the international image of China in the world

And this isn't something I can understand. Why does China on one hand want to build a positive image people have of it in the world, but on the other hand does not invest in PR experts, or if it does, consults and learns from them?
In fact, in all the years I have been observing China, there is only one time I have ever seen a Chinese spokesperson come up on top in an interaction with western media journalists

So there. Do you agree with me on this? Do you think China is simply bad at PR? Do you think this is intentional or what is going on?
Thank you!
I follow China-Taiwan politics very closely as a Hongkonger with a vested interest. The CCP isn’t really doing external comms/PR. All the antics are done to stroke the ego of their own hyper-patriotic population, who have incomplete information on how the rest of the world view their country. It’s internal comms

China diplomats are ‘Wolf Warriors’ it’s a diplomacy style niche to China. :)
It is supposed to be combative and confrontational. Make the country seem strong then follow up with whatever international display

Right now, China is trying to build nationalism so they’ll say and do whatever to seem strong to their citizens

As others have mentioned, you are misinterpreting the audience the Chinese government has for these statements. Yes, they are made for foreign outlets, which leads to backlash from Western powers, which angers the already-pretty nationalist Chinese middle class, which gives the CCP greater leverage to make these kinds of statements. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle and exactly what the Chinese government wants

TL;DR - this isn’t PR at all, it’s great power politics. China is racing the clock to make big plays it’s been planning for years, and China intends to win that race

That begs the question, as you point out, of why? If China desires greater integration into the existing, post-WWII liberal order, why do this? The answer is that China does not want greater integration, it wants to deconstruct the current international order and replace it with a Sino-centric one, and these statements help lay the groundwork in two ways

First, China is already deeply integrated into the existing international order. It is the world’s factory and one of the world’s biggest farms, and despite harsh words, China and the U.S. are not enemies because neither’s economy can hope to function without the other’s. Furthermore, China’s economic needs and its global initiatives, like the AAIB and Belt and Road, mean China is quite economically integrated already with the rest of Asia, Africa, Russia, the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Latin America. These, of course, being the regions one would need to hold sway over in order to supplant the U.S. alliance. But most of these regions still look to the U.S. and NATO for political authority as needed. Nobody calls China to mediate negotiations to end a civil war, they call the U.S., Europe and occasionally Russia or Qatar. China wants to change this, and that means convincing these regions that it can face down NATO and that NATO’s authority is cracking. Belligerent foreign media statements and a refusal to let the U.S. dictate internal Chinese policies (e.g., the Uighur genocide) are a “tidy” way to demonstrate this without resorting to needless conflict

Speaking of war, you mentioned that many of these statements center on Taiwan, and that’s not a coincidence nor an accident. China is fully intent on retaking Taiwan and it’s become clear that can only be done by force. It’s not just a matter of national pride - Taiwan makes 60% of the world’s semiconductors, and control of the island helps awaken China’s dream of naval dominance in the West Pacific and Indian Oceans, which it needs to truly blunt the threat of a U.S. attack. It’s a matter of simple geopolitical survival, the same force that ultimatelyRussia to invade Ukraine (for the record, I support the Ukrainians). The problem is that China’s internal problems are mounting so quickly, and the costs of invading Taiwan are so high, that the window for an invasion is pretty narrow. It’s not possible for China to do it yet, but it will be in a few years, and will also likely be infeasible by the end of the 2030s. So the government needs to prep its population now for a quickly approaching day zero. Provoking the West abroad and whipping up jingoism at home gets the job done, and also opens a pressure valve to take domestic attention off China’s growing problems with water access, an inevitable recession and approaching depopulation

OP I think you lack knowledge and understanding of the geopolitical context. You've made a number of misinterpretations. Find some good resources to look into this. Eurasia Group is good

incorrect in multiple of the assertions you make. For example:
if the country wants to create a portrayal of a non-threatening nation

China has zero interest in portraying themselves as non-threatening

Also, keep in mind that there is a big difference between propaganda and PR

You're the one that commented "CCPsomething

I understand people tend to have bias against China, but let's stick to what they're stating, not what we believe of them. And if you read any official statements by China about its position in the world, or even about Taiwan, the statements are non-threatening and emphasize peaceful integration

BUT they do these arguably aggressive posturings on occasion, such as when the US does something with Taiwan

Therefore your statement..

China has zero interest in portraying themselves as non-threatening

 is not one from their side, it's from your side observing their actions

In the context of my original question in this thread, I suppose your answer would then be something like - you believe they are disingenuous, and THIS is the reason why it appears they are bad at PR. They aren't really failing at the messages they want to relay, it's that they don't want to relay messages I'm expecting them to want to relay in the first place

But as I explained in my other reply to your other comment, I don't believe this is the case

However, I would very much appreciate if you cared to elaborate where you would draw the line between propaganda and PR, other than propaganda being a more narrowed scope of PR

So as it happens I "did business" with the Chinese for almost 20 years, for several years with Chinese companies as clients and then later with a company that had significant dealings with Chinese decision-makers, regulatory bodies, companies and other stakeholders. Over those years, I've seen very significant changes in how China positions itself, and thinks abotu itself. When I began working with them, they were eager to learn from the west and marked by a bit of an inferiority complex about their business practices. I would say since 2010 or so, that changed to a massive rise in Chinese nationalism, a sense that they were the owners of a secret formula that gave them special knowledge of how to do things right. As a friend of mine in Hong Kong put it, in 2012, "The Chinese today see their role as regaining the central place that China has occupied in global economic, social and artistic affairs since the start of history, with the last 50 or so years as an unfortunate aberration." It's worth reading that comment a couple of times and really considering what that means for how a country views itself. That kind of nationalism is of course fuelled by the insecurity that was already present in the country, as nationalisms inevitably are

As a result, since that time, almost all Chinese communication is produced not for its impact outside China, but for its impact within China. Their view is that the west's opinion is fickle, short-term, and heavily divided (and I don't know that they're wrong on that So it's pointless to ask whether they're bad at PR - they are, but it's not PR they're doing, it's self-reinforcement and nation-building, coupled with covering up their insecurities

There's a lesson here for western PR practitioners. When you work for a seemingly omnipotent company - an Apple, or a Google, or an Amazon - it's easy to get into a mindset where what you say only matters internally, where you're surrounded by people and vendors who support you. Meanwhile, as you sit disconnected from what the rest of the world thinks, your external reputation continues its slow downward spiral. Show me a major player, an industry dominator, with a good external reputation

"The Chinese today see their role as regaining the central place that China has occupied in global economic, social and artistic affairs since the start of history, with the last 50 or so years as an unfortunate aberration." It's worth reading that comment a couple of times and really considering what that means for how a country views itself. That kind of nationalism is of course fuelled by the insecurity that was already present in the country, as nationalisms inevitably are

200 years, but otherwise spot on. I would say that sentiment isn't new, it's something they've always believed (As someone who was raised in Asia and am ethnically Chinese myself)

When I began working with them, they were eager to learn from the west and marked by a bit of an inferiority complex about their business practices

Even when this was happening, they still believed that they had an inherent Chinese superiority - just needed to learn/modernize. You'll see this in writings of Chinese people throughout theof the Qing dynasty

I wonder why China isn't doing more for its international image. China doesn't want a conflict with the West right now and the best way would be to project a friendly image to the world and become stronger peacefully while the US grows weaker - I mean this was the Chinese strategy before Xi Jinping

Meanwhile, as you sit disconnected from what the rest of the world thinks, your external reputation continues its slow downward spiral. Show me a major player, an industry dominator, with a good external reputation

Apple? At least among consumers they have huge cache, Netflix used to as well but the shine's been taken off a little recently. Starbucks and Target I think also have good reputations but I guess they aren't massive monopolizers, but neither is China

Get what you mean though - the argument that China is simply not giving aabout external opinions makes sense. I was a little confused by that point because they actually message heavily to overseas Chinese populations, but China sees them as Chinese as well, and doesn't care that they're citizens of another country

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