Zheng: Public diplomacy 'involves the whole nation'

By Li huiru
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 19, 2012
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Zheng Wantong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, spoke at the Charhar public diplomacy conference 2012 in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, on Aug. 18. [By Li Huiru/China.org.cn]

In his opening speech titled "Public diplomacy involves all of us," Zheng Wantong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, said China's soft power initiatives must build "a solid domestic base" before they can be effective abroad.


Comparing China's public diplomacy to sports activities, where both professionals and public support are critical to success, Zheng addressed a group of top government officials, international affairs experts, and media professionals at the 2012 Charhar public diplomacy conference in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province on Aug. 18.

"Public diplomacy needs professional diplomats to safeguard national sovereignty and interests," Zheng said. "It also requires the participation of the whole nation to showcase and define the country's image."

China's public diplomacy traditions have distinctive characteristics, Zheng said, dating back to the early liberation period when China carried out person-to-person diplomacy to promote exchanges with foreign countries and to consolidate the international united front against aggression and expansionism.

Reviewing the evolution of the Western public diplomacy, Zheng concluded that public diplomacy is becoming an undertaking which involves the whole nation. He mentioned three trends. First, the internet has become a new method and tool for the developed countries to carry out public diplomacy. Second, common people now play a role as active participants in public diplomacy, instead of serving as an audience for it. Third, local governments, NGOs and multinational corporations have gradually become the important carriers of public diplomacy.

To promote China's public diplomacy efforts, Zheng suggested the government copy the example of the country's National Fitness Regulations to develop a public diplomacy strategy which mobilizes the whole nation. Under the guidance of the professional diplomats, with the promulgation of social elites, working together with the general public, a public diplomacy human resource system will gradually be built, he said. He also stressed the CPPCC's important role in pushing forward public diplomacy. He also encouraged the NGOs and multinational corporations to get involved in the public diplomacy in ways which play to their strengths. Additionally, researchers, especially in the fields of diplomacy and international relations, should place more emphasis on the theoretical and practical study of the public diplomacy.

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