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The rise of Chine: media perception and implications for international politics - Article Example

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The article raises an issue of China’s empowerment on international arena through the dimension of ‘soft power’ framework, which turns into compelling trend in contemporary international relations. In his methodology, Zhang mixes business terms with political reality, and…
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The rise of Chine: media perception and implications for international politics
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The article raises an issue of China’s empowerment on international arena through the dimension of ‘soft power’ framework, which turns into compelling trend in contemporary international relations. In his methodology, Zhang mixes business terms with political reality, and calls country’s ability to attract actors from other countries as “the national brand” (p. 233). In addition, he supplements this logic by investigating China’s appearance in news media, taken this approach from journalism studies. In this context, the circumstances of mediated world show that China’s representation in foreign news is highly important for the perception of this country. Zhang read the most influential newspapers among European elites and found out that economic aspect of Chinese behavior gains the most attention from European media (p. 241). In this respect, not only the range of topics but also the frequency of appearance in media is important for decision-makers. The practical illustration of media influence is visible in EU-China relations, because EU officials change their behavior according to the media image of China in European newspapers.
In the article, it is an interesting idea that media uses ‘map-making’ in order to shape the perception of China among the population in other countries. In my opinion, the potential of this tool in not appropriately acknowledged by Chinese government. In particular, Chinese people do not recognize the potential of foreign media in changing national brand of this country in the world. If not to consider the power of attractiveness in current global politics, it is easy to lose reputation and trust from the other actors in future relations. In this context, the article illustratively shows that China firstly appeared in European media after the loud protest on Tiananmen Square (p. 243). In other words, internal non-democratic political situation in China became the trigger for its ambiguous popularity in democratic world. Therefore, contemporary informational era demonstrates that it is impossible to cover domestic political problems, because globalization includes all of them in international agenda.
For future research, the article does not discuss the impact of Hong Kong issue on the reputation of China in Europe. On the one hand, there is a probability that numerous protests in Special Administrative District did not have any influence on China’s image in international relations. On another hand, even recent protests in Hong Kong found their place in foreign media. Thus, Zheng by not mentioning the role of relations between Hong Kong and China eliminates the potential of this element on changing the country’s national brand. In addition, the article leaves the question of Chinese political regime and its impact on the negotiations with European Union, because this actor has different political views. In fact, the reliance on media demonstrated by EU officials can find its explanation in the fact that China is strange for Europeans in political terms. Since democratic world has negative experience of struggling with communist Soviet Union during the Cold War, current necessity to cooperate with China has no positive examples to follow. In return, it becomes hard for China itself to build ‘one country, two systems’ model in its relations with Hong Kong. In this context, lack of trust between democratic Europe and communist China may find its representation in China’s regional politics, including guaranteeing respectful attention to autonomy of Hong Kong. Read More
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