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US novelist: China needs more efforts to explain itself

(People's Daily Online)

09:47, October 13, 2011

People's Daily Online conducted an interview with U.S. novelist and filmmaker Andre Vitchek, who recently wrote “The West Perfecting Its Techniques to Hurt China”, in which he criticized the role the Western press plays in bashing China. Below is the interview:

PD Online: China has now put more emphasis on public diplomacy. For example, it has established foreign language television stations in the U.S. And China's national promotional film has been broadcasted in the U.S, etc. Would you say something about this?

Vitchek: This is absolutely essential! It is the only way forward. China is the biggest country in the world, the second largest economy and enormous alternative system. It has to use all means to make people all over the world familiar with its thoughts, plans, and dreams!

China has to promote its arts, its philosophy, show people its ancient cities, its countryside, through television and other media. It should make children all over the world fall in love with its fairytales, its wonderful dragons and other mythical creatures. It should show Chinese films, open more cultural centers all over the world. This would have tremendous psychological impact.

I saw it in Australia, for instance, where Chinese Confucius Institute in Sydney offers free performances of Chinese Opera periodically, where there are great art galleries with contemporary Chinese art (like White Rabbit) and entire gardens with Chinese landscaping. Urbanites in Australia and New Zealand are now much more understanding, much more respectful to China, than in Europe which is mostly ignorant about Chinese culture.

PD Online: Nowadays, the western media still holds a bigger voice in the international community. What China may do to gain a bigger power of discourse? If so, what kind of responsibility should the Chinese media bear in this regards?

Vitchek: There is of course some progress. For instance – The China Daily – they launched very important weekly magazine that is distributed all over Asia. I am helping with it. It explains China to other Asian countries and in the same time, it is promoting cultural dialogue between different nations in the region. The same magazine was supposed to be launched in Africa but was not, yet. I am still waiting to join if it will begin to function while I am working in Africa.

But frankly, China needs to do much more. Look at RT (Russia Today). Many people are switching to it, from the BBC and Al-Jazeera. Even where local cable and satellite programs do not carry them life, RT is watched on line. For many people who are disillusioned with Western media, RT is like some dissident channel. They have brilliant talk shows with people like Stiglitz or Chomsky appearing on them. And RT is very respectful, very objective towards China. I am supposed to appear on CCTV this year and I would like to talk on this topic. China’s voice on airwaves and in print should be more assertive and sharper.

And let me make one very important point here: China should aim at explaining itself to the world: where does it stand, what are its goals. It is alternative system, but how alternative?

It will not inspire people all over the world by being ‘business friendly’. Most of the people are disillusioned, disgusted with Western market fundamentalism. And one way how the West tries to discredit China is by claiming that it is now ‘more capitalist’ than the West. It is very negative, these days as almost nobody really wants to be called ‘capitalist’ and the Western propaganda masters know it.

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Leave your comment7 comments

  1. Name

Aussie at 2011-10-1558.168.242.*
Vitchek is promoting China and is biased.
CK Wong at 2011-10-14124.13.183.*
Most isuues said by Vitchek are essencial elements in promoting China, sometime we can not blame the west lack the understanding of China,s culture. One thing I can"t agree with Vitchek is the view on China"s system in "alternative". Unlike Russia during the cold war, where the political leaders of the west and USSR using the capitalist and communist as propaganda purposes. China never wants to and never will force on other countries to adopt China"s way of administering the government. Just look at Hong Kong, Macau, and the naughty Taiwan, China just let them do as what they are doing for the last 100 years plus. Only core policy on theses small pieces of China is no military forces against China and they will live peacefully. and they are "part of China". Today this is no more so call capitalist or coumunist rules, It just the degree of imdividual rights verses public interest or liberty against equality. Very often, many countries abuses the so call "democratic process" see the Arab spring and Lybia episod, the somali famine. and Indo China"s Burmese, Cambodia and Laos, they are in trouble because they hand on too zealously on the term Democatic in the western"s style, but their citizen and rulering leaders forget about individual rights, social liberalisation and most imoportant everyone must work and have food and shelter, but these can not be achieved without conducise political stability. Chian have to do what she is doing, but mine you China have been evolving slowly after the revolution in 1930"s. On the other hand the so call welfare states of the west and US wlefare rpogrammes today are"nt they socilaistic in nature?
San-Won Chiam at 2011-10-13110.175.8.*
Vitchek is right. The Australian news medias are full of Weatern imperialist progandas to attack governments who are not working as their puppets. It makes me very angry when politicians are lying through their teeth to overthrow a legitimate government, killing millions of innocent civilians, displacing millions more all for the control of resources etc. China is targeted for helping many countries to rid of poverty and to be independent, and hindering the West dominance over them. China must use propaganda to counter these attacks.
endi at 2011-10-13120.166.56.*
Be careful with the Westerners, who worked in the Chinese media, especially in the China Daily, most likely they were undercover agents from the U.S. or the UK that acts as a reporter or editor in chief of the English version, don"t even believe in them, kept always watching all their activities.
Tsao Tsao at 2011-10-13175.137.242.*
China’s system of governance is not based on meritocracy. The rulers rely on a second tier of capable people to help them run which begs the question - should these rulers be there in the first place? What are their locus standing for being where they are now? If anything, this system will perpetuate a similar dynasty of oligarchs of "aristocrats" whose parents happened to be part of the Long March. This system has to change to ensure able and honest hands-on candidates rise to the top. Not fat cats and their children without stringent vetting. Chain’s current problems are linked to the backwardness of the language, fear of responsibility for war and confrontation where it is necessary, lack of knowledge and analytical ability, lack of confidence, and lack of courage. The only solution to this is to get a better group of able and honest people with leadership attributes. The current crop are getting ossified with glory and fear of responsibility of being wartime or confrontation-time Committee members. Collective responsibility is but an excuse for no responsibility. The present and next generation of Chinese deserve better.

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