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SISU | What is China? And how should we show that?


23 June 2019 | By Yang Meiping | SHINE

  • Group photo

  • Experts discussing

E

xperts from home and abroad gathered on a forum at the Shanghai International Studies University on Saturday to discuss China’s image and global communication.

Hu Zhengrong, editor-in-chief of China Education Television, said most text, videos and other information that China produced showed a similar image of China focusing on its great history and economic developments.

But this often failed to resonate in audiences in other countries. He cited the Swahili version of a TV series “Good Time for Daughter-in-Law” as a successful example.

“It was so popular in Tanzania that when we visited there, most local people pointed to our female teachers and called them ‘Doudou’ (the name of the female protagonist in the TV series) when we walked on the street,” he said.

“When we asked why they loved it, they told us that in this TV series, they saw the real life of Chinese people, with conflicts between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and the divergence between the husband and wife about whether and when to have babies. All problems they faced in their own life.

"What drew them was not the comfortable setting and fancy buildings, it was how it could shed light on how we can tell Chinese stories,” Hu said.

He also said that China still did not know the world very well and needed to research its overseas audience more comprehensively, not only those friendly to China, but also those unfriendly.

Hong Junhao, a professor form the State University of New York, had a similar view.

He said China’s voice could hardly be heard and most foreigners still took in information about China via foreign media and some of them naturally turned their back and closed their eyes to the content produced by Chinese.

“China has to look at its way of communication,” he said. “It has to adopt a real international way of communication, rather a Chinese way.”

Jonathan Zhu, chair professor of computational social science and director of Center for Communication Research, City University of Hong Kong, advocated the use of a comparative approach in related research.

This involves using one or more nations as a benchmark.

He said that single-nation studies assessed national images based on an idea.

Guo Ke, a professor from the Shanghai International Studies University, said that although China is the world's second-largest economy, its international standing did not reflect that.

"We have every reason to establish our own international communication theory system with Chinese characteristics,” he said.

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Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading