Xi Jingping seeks friendly image for China

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Xi Jinping said China must do more to create an image that wins the admiration of the world, as Beijing could be seeking to ease tensions with the United States.

Xi said during a meeting of senior Chinese Communist Party officials Tuesday that China’s image needs an upgrade. China’s culture also needs to be promoted around the world, China Central Television reported Wednesday.

Xi ordered the creation of an “image of China that is trusted, loved and respected” globally, state television said.

“It is necessary to make friends, unite and win over the majority, and constantly expand the circle of friends [when it comes to] international public opinion,” Xi said, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Xi also said China should be “open and confident, but also modest and humble” when speaking on the world stage, Western media reported on Wednesday.

Rehabilitating China’s image could be a tall order for Beijing. According to a Pew Research survey from late 2020, 14 countries in Europe, North America and East Asia reported majority negative views of China.

Beijing’s rhetoric attacking the United States and defending its Covid-19  policy, dubbed “wolf warrior diplomacy,” may also be popular with a domestic audience, according to CNN.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian earned a promotion for remarks on U.S. problems with racism, income inequality and gun violence, the report said.

The Chinese government’s image has deteriorated due to Covid-19 and widespread speculation the state “covered up” the origins of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. Beijing also did not acknowledge the disease was highly contagious among people for nearly a month after the first known outbreak in December 2019.

Xi stressed the importance of the government’s relationship to foreign media. At the Politburo meeting Tuesday, the Chinese leader said the state must “create an external media environment conducive to reform and development in line with China’s comprehensive national power and international status.”

China previously attempted to influence outside opinion with new media services. The country launched broadcaster Voice of China launched in 2018.

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