Archive for May 18th, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shanghai Expo: Waiting Messages

You are a Nazi, when people have to endure long queue times in front of your pavillon at the Expo 2010 Shanghai. That’s some visitors’ message to the German Pavillon crew, anyway. Which  shouldn’t upset anyone familiar with these  regular customs. After all, you are a Nazi, too, when you “support Zhang Danhong.  Or when you aren’t subscribing to the Tibet-has-been-Chinese-since-PanGu-made-Heaven-and-Earth theory. Or if you wouldn’t vote for the CCP if it was available for a vote.

But the German pavillon commissioner, Dietmar Schmitz, deplored assaults as well, in a letter to the Expo organizers, and asked for additional security staff. Otherwise, the pavillon would have to close for an indefinite period.

Queuing times are currently about two hours, writes Die Welt.

German federal president Horst Köhler is due to visit on Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“Soft Power: the Art of Persuasion”

The Yellow Emperor will show You the Way

Tomorrow, there will be even more Confucius Institutes

It sounds a bit like a cheap bestselling handbook for very poor diplomats:

This political manipulation is referred to as soft power – achieving what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your customs – thriving on control, not force.

Philip Dodd, creative director of China Now, a six month festival devoted to contemporary China taking place in Britain in 2008 and a man of other (similar) functions, wrote a documentary for the BBC and investigates how this cultural rivalry [for soft power] is being formed and what weapons of persuasion are being deployed, from global sporting fixtures to cultural events and educational projects.

The pivotal point of Dodds’s two-part documentary is, of course, America. In the first part of his documentary about soft power, he looked at China, the scope and the limitations of its efforts to project “soft power” (the limitations being that government-controlled cultural power would never be as powerful as a decentralized version of it – which will lead him on to India in the second part.

Not too many surprises in the documentary, in my books, apart from a surprisingly halfhearted Romano Prodi (former EU chief commissioner and former Italian prime minister) whose nightmare is an economically successful, non-democratic model. But then, considering the rotten state of a country that voted Silvio Berlusconi‘s “Forza Italia” (or “People of Freedom”, or whatever name this political zombie may take in the future) to power twice so far, one might understand Prodi’s depressive mood.

For the time being, the program can be downloaded as a podcast here.

Meantime, Taiwan is doing some work to project its bit of soft power. A journalist from Hamburg with the regional Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) is scheduled to live in Taipei with a grant from the country’s government for a three months’ language course, until the end of August.  Most of his blog is written in German, but the latest post is in English.

please see the first comments


China-funded: Three Eight Hundreds, April 19, 2009

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