Archive for May 21st, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yang Rui and Soft Power

You probably can’t blog about soft power and ignore the weibo message Yang Rui (杨锐), a CCTV-9 presenter, reportedly wrote. But during this busy first half of the week, there are other things to do. Besides, while this is certainly relevant information to be processed, I’m wondering why the response from many foreigner is so heated. True – the message in question is – to put it carefully – running counter to anything like “soft power”, but to me, the only explanation for the angry foreign replies to it seems to be that they expected Yang to do better. I don’t even know Yang as a television personality. I can’t remember that I ever watched the channel. All I know is that CCTV-9 is state-owned, and broadcasts in English, mainly for a foreign audience.

Maybe what Yang wrote about Melissa Chan, the al-Jazeera correspondent who had to leave the country, is actually a semi-official answer to questions foreign-ministry spokesman Hong Lei had previously been asked – questions to which there hasn’t been a really telling answer. Yang’s would be a nasty and strange answer (and maybe that’s  why Hong wouldn’t want to provide it), but basically not a surprising one. The only remaining question for now would be if Yang wrote the message on his own behalf or on behalf of the CCP.

That’s all I can think of – and speculate about – at the moment, and how I should connect this to the topic of soft power, I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll know on Thursday or Friday.

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