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.