EXPO: raising China's soft power

By Shen Dingli
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, May 7, 2010
Adjust font size:

Despite China's rigid political system, the world has recently been impressed by its competence. The Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai EXPO demonstrated China's organizational capacity, something other countries envy, although Western countries would, of course, not want to emulate China's methods.

Before Shanghai 2010, the idea of a World EXPO seemed to have become almost antique, but China was determined to revive it.

Yet, among the 70 million visitors (the number could be exaggerated) expected to tour the vast site, the majority will be Chinese. Only 3 million visitors are likely to come from abroad, just 4 percent of the total.

Obviously, the EXPO is targeting a Chinese audience. It will give Chinese people a window onto the outside world, and allow other countries to conduct public diplomacy and showcase their culture, history and values.

The 70 million visitors to the EXPO outnumber by nearly 50 percent the 48 million Chinese who traveled abroad last year. We can say the EXPO is a cost-effective way for Chinese people to get a snapshot of the world community and China's place in it.

The Chinese authorities also see the EXPO as an opportunity to give a further impetus to modernization. The EXPO is a symbol of China's integration into the world.

Actually this is the second time that China has played host to a major international fair. In 1910 the Qing Dynasty hosted "The Southern Seas Industrial Association Fair." It was the last attempt by the Qing government to encourage an effort to catch up with the industrialized West before the dynasty collapsed a year later.

A century later, China is hosting a real EXPO against a very different background. Through one and a half centuries of turbulence and humiliation, China persistently searched for a path to reform and modernization. Eventually it reached a national consensus on economic development and has been focusing on it for over three decades.

China needs to tap this unique opportunity. It is clear that the country has experienced an economic miracle since the late 1970s. But it still faces huge problems.

The country needs to continue revamping its political, economic, financial systems, and boost science and education. It has to reflect upon its cultural cohesiveness and build its capacity to innovate.

1   2   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter