Photos via features 50 top Chinese celebrities and business figures (along with some normal Chinese people) including Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, John Woo, astronaut Yang Liwei, and pianist Lang Lang. The publicity initiative is seen as coinciding with a general effort by both America and China to cool off from tumultuous year in 2010.
Gady Epstein of Forbes sums up the issue nicely:
This is a bold move for a government better known for selling its propaganda at home, where the consumers are at least accustomed to it, than abroad. From a public relations standpoint, an old-fashioned television ad campaign would seem to have a risk of backfiring: American viewers will bring their own fixed notions about China to these ads, and may prove a tough audience. Then again, the ads may just fall flat or seem altogether harmless — which in this day and age could be construed as a PR victory.
There is no question China has to work on its public relations. But this raises the larger philosophical question, especially in the case of human rights, of whether China has an image problem with the West, or a reality problem.
Xinhua was on site to catch the local reaction. Either somebody’s doctoring interviews or they got extremely lucky, because I seriously doubt any New York high school students can recognize female table tennis players on sight…:
“The layout of the video is quite smart. I like it,” Charlotte Mcguckin, 18, a high school student in New York, told Xinhua, adding that “everyone (in the video) looks happy.”
“Look, that’s Yao Ming. I can recognize him, and also the female table tennis player standing beside him. She is very famous, ” she said, pointing to the giant screen. “I learned in class that U.S. and China started diplomatic ties from playing the table tennis,” she smiled.
Personally, I can’t wait to hear US pundits’ reactions to the campaign. Glenn Beck was no doubt just getting warmed up last week.
More news surrounding Hu Jintao’s US trip:
China Leader’s Limits Come Into Focus as U.S. Visit Nears, NYT – There’s been a remarkable amount of speculation over Hu’s standing with the military after the unexpected test flight of the J-20 stealth fighter jet last week.
Hu Jintao answers questions with Washington Post, WaPo – The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal jointly submitted interview questions in December and the answers were released this week. See WSJ’s China editor’s reaction to the interview here.
Of Us-China summits, past and present, NYT editorial
Human-rights protesters ready for Hu, The Hill
U.S.-China Relations: Is a Sustained Cooperation Imaginable?, Brookings
Hu Holds to Tradition of Discreet Leadership, WSJ
From the CCTV13 News Channel:Here’s the ad in case you’re wondering what it looks like: