With political arrows still being shot back and forth between Beijing and Dharamsala, China has been panning out its efforts to win the propaganda battle over Tibet, sending teams of Tibetologists to Finland and Italy to ‘educate’ academics and students on the history and modern development of Tibet. Realising that influencing scholars and historians is not enough, China has also taken the battle into the online arena to reach people like you and I.
Lately we’ve been observing lots of Google ads pointing to the China Tibet Information Center appearing in places like Youtube (pictured) and even our Google Reader. Given the massive reach of Google’s self-serve contextual ads, this means anytime you’re viewing something related to China or more specifically Tibet anywhere on the web, that ad may appear, pointing you to http://eng.tibet.cn/ where China’s version of the Tibet story is presented. You’d think these state behemoths are totally clueless when it comes to the Internet, but clearly these guys know their stuff and are embracing the new media to bring their point across to average Joes around the world sitting in front of their computers. History, they say, is anything you can get people to agree upon and from a public relations standpoint, you can’t not give them marks for coming around to understand the art of subtle persuasion. Of course, in any propaganda exercise, money talks, and it will not hurt to have a big budget backed by a burgeoning economy — something the Dharamsala-based Tibetan government-in-exile does not have the luxury of.