This week is a big week for China. The eyes of the world will be watching closely as Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with US President Barack Obama in Washington on Wednesday for his first and last state visit.
In true Chinese Government style, the communist party is using the “legacy-building” event (and has invested a lot of money) to try and counter America’s negative perceptions of the PRC.
During the week of the Presidential visit, the Chinese State Council Information Office will broadcast TV advertisements in the USA that promote a China-friendly message with an underlying theme of ‘Hello world, here we come‘.
How the “here we come” message goes down in the States will be interesting, especially with all the sinophobia that went on in 2010 (i.e. The Chinese Professor Ad). One also has to question whether this kind of obvious campaigning will make up for China’s PR nightmare that has worsened of late, take Liu Xiaobao’s (刘晓波) Nobel Prize saga as a prime example.
To truly be seen as a “friendly” China must adapt its methods to dealing with things it does not like. Western nations often look on in shock as they witness -via Western media- the power the Chinese Government has over its people.
Unfortunately, the advert itself is being kept under wraps until Wednesday, but from what we know so far it will feature a host of over 50 Chinese celebrities. Here is a rough list of some of those featured:
- Yáo Míng (姚明) — NBA basketball star
- Yáng Lìwěi (杨利伟) — the first Chinese man in space
- Láng Lǎng 郎朗 — the extraordinary pianist
- Guō Jīngjīng (郭晶晶) — the diving medalist
- Sir Ka-shing Li (李嘉诚) — Hong Kong billionaire Li-Ka Shing
- Jackie Chan (陳港生) — movie star and singer
If you live in the states you will be able to watch a range of “Friendly China” commercials over the coming week. One will broadcast on the big screen at New York’s Times Square on the day of President Hu’s visit to Washington. At a later date the advertisements will go live across the world. We will aim to upload the advert to chinaSMACK as soon as we can.
In the meantime here are some sneak photos (in a weird Chinese collage) of the celebrities being filmed for the ad.
UPDATE: Here is the advert itself lighting up Times Square
If you’re interested in following the visit day-to-day the Financial Times is doing a China Shapes The World editorial throughout the week so certainly worth a read. Here is the rather nice advertisement promoting it: