In preparing for my next trip to China in a few weeks I’ve been consuming all kinds of China related intelligence and information. Believe me there’s no shortage of things to read and learn. One feed I’ve been receiving is from China – People’s Daily Online – here is a sample feed/post – http://bit.ly/ma3SH5.
The posts (and there are seemingly continual posts) are well written and completely from the perspective of the CPC (Communist Party of China). From the perspective of a non-Chinese American most of the posts appear overly China promotional and slanted toward the CPC point of view. Yes I know – big surprise. The free press we enjoy here in the United States is a founding principle. Yet when the U.S. government (or either of the two major political parties) provides information on a project or initiative we all know there is a point of view – we tend to call it marketing or spin.
So what’s the difference? Well an obvious one is the repression of dissenting thought and commentary. What’s happening to recently released Chinese activist Ai Weiwei http://bit.ly/lB3uFp at the moment is a prime example of that. While the CPC claims that he owes millions of dollars in back taxes, it appears that a condition of his release and subsequent house confinement (as opposed to wherever the government was keeping him before) is for him to remain silent and make no comments. Many people feel that the back tax charge was trumped up and that would seem to meet a propaganda campaign.
Yet U.S. political policy position papers from both parties are far from even handed and are obviously designed to sway opinion and convince people of their point of view. If it were not for the two-party system here in the United States, I contend much of what is written in public policy papers is not spin or marketing but propaganda as well.
Even in today’s New York Times http://nyti.ms/kXjmME and article regarding the 90th anniversary of the forming of the Communist party centered on what it termed propaganda related to repackaging revolutionary classics.
I’ve noted in previous posts that a U.S. style bi-cameral legislature in China is not only a long shot but likely won’t work. Governing 1.3+ billion people is vastly different than governing 309 million. What I am suggesting is that all governments ‘market’ their positions in some form or another. Call it spin, rhetoric or whatever you want but in that way China is no different than any other developed nation.
It’s the populace’s ability to refute government positions that they do not agree with that makes a ‘free’ democratic nation a paragon. It was Winston Churchill who said ‘Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others’.
Was that marketing, spin or propaganda? Or was it and is it just simply true?
I wish all here in the U.S. a great holiday weekend – I’m going to take a little break myself.