Zhao Qizheng: Netizens should Calm Down, re Diplomacy

The following are excerpts from a Huanqiu Shibao interview with Zhao Qizheng (赵启正). Zhao, currently the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s” news spokesman, also referred to the public-diplomacy functions in this interview, as he sees them as elements of diplomacy, and therefore as additional reasons for Chinese diplomats to “strengthen communication with the [Chinese, that is] public”.

If you go by Huanqiu’s readership – it’s a paper where nationalist feelings aren’t necessarily discouraged by the editorial departments -, Zhao could have reasons to be worried. Huanqiu readers frequently suspect diplomats to be pragmatists, i. e. people who would never throw themselves into international struggles whole-heartedly, but rather issue lame and inefficient statements opposing the enemy’s (particularly American or Japanese) moves.

Main Link: http://china.huanqiu.com/2012lianghui/jz/2012-03/2508350.html

Links within blockquote added during translation.

Huanqiu: Currently, some quarters among the netizens are rather excited and frequently complain that “China’s diplomacy isn’t cool”. How, do you think, should the government disperse this kind of impression in the public?

记者:现在有部分网民情绪比较激动,经常抱怨“中国外交不给力”。您认为政府该如何做才能消除公众的这种印象?

Zhao: Communication must be strengthened. The foreign ministry and diplomtic departments should communicate more, with the pubic. Some of us Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference delegates , those who have once been stationed at embassies abroad, or are diplomacy experts, should go to the universities more frequently and explain our diplomatic policies. If communication isn’t strengthened, both sides will have views of their own, which can’t lead to agreement.

Now, the young get on the internet to read news, while older people look at the traditional media. People also don’t always attach the same importance to the same things. That’s a problem. This gap between the generations isn’t only one of generation and age, but it is also that they read different channels. The sticking points on the internet and in the traditional media aren’t really the same ones, nor are the contents which are expressed in videos or language. If information is the atmosphere, different audiences are breathing different layers of it. Only more communication can remove misunderstandings on both sides.

赵启正:要加强沟通。外交部以及外交部门,应该和公众多沟通。我们政协委员中的一些原驻外大使或资深外交专家,应该多去大学讲解我们的外交政策。不加强沟通的话,双方各想各的,肯定不会一致。

现在的年轻人是上网浏览信息,年纪大的人看传统媒体,他们关注的事情也不完全一样,这就是问题。这个代沟已经不仅仅是年龄的代沟,现在他们阅读的渠道都不同了,网上的热点和传统媒体的热点不太一样,视频、语言表达的内容也不太一样。如果说信息是空气,那么不同受众呼吸到的就是不同层里的空气。只有多沟通,才能消除彼此的误解。

Huanqiu: Do you think that the netizens’ judgment of the state of China’s foreign policy reflects the real situation?

记者:您认为网民们对于中国外交现状的评论,能够反映中国外交的真实情况吗?

Zhao: The public’s attitudes towards China’s diplomacy are diverse. Many of them are accurate, based on patriotic enthusiasm. Many of these views are useful and constructive. But there are also netizens whose observations of diplomacy are lacking depth. This isn’t about blaming them, it’s only because they are still rather young.

A most typical example is the China in 2030 report, published by the State Council’s Research Center and the World Bank. Many people condemned this as “poison”, demanding that state enterprises should not be privatized. But the entire report doesn’t mention privatization at all. Do a search of it, and you won’t find a word of it there. A report of more than 400 pages, and without having seen it, criticism started on the internet. What you criticize isn’t to be found there at all. What does this tell us?

So, netizens should calm down, and look at this issue rationally. I won’t simply criticize diplomacy or any of its particulars; I particularly encourage all departments to strengthen communication, to hold more conferences, to enable the public to understand them.

赵启正:公众对于中国外交的态度是多样的,这里面很多是正确的,是基于爱国热情的,其中也有不少有用的、有建设性的意见。但是,也有一些网民缺少对外交观察的深度,这并不是埋怨他们,只是因为他们还比较年轻。

最典型的例子,是中国国务院发展研究中心和世界银行合作的这篇报告《2030年的中国》,有很多人指责这是“一剂毒药”,呼吁中国的国企不能私有化。可是这篇报告里,根本没有提到国企私有化,你通篇去搜索,连一个词都搜不到。400多页的报告,还没看呢,就开始在网上批判了。你所批判的东西,文件上根本就没有。这说明什么呢?

所以说,网民们还得沉下心来,理智地看这个问题。我绝不是一味地批评外交部或是某一方面,我特别提倡所有部门都加强沟通,多举办发布会,让公众理解他们。

A detailed account of Zhao’s views on public diplomacy (as of 2009) can be found here.

____________

Related

» The Adequate Adversary, Aug 13, 2010

____________

One Trackback to “Zhao Qizheng: Netizens should Calm Down, re Diplomacy”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: