When all else fails, call the PR people

Acutely aware that their good name is being tarnished by a US media wave of negative articles and fiery speeches by hysterical politicians of both parties, China is fighting back with the world’s most potent weapon — public relations.

China has embarked on a more pro-active campaign to counter criticism in the US of its growing economic and military power, using the visit of a senior official to Washington to make the case in public for a strategic relationship and employing a top US lobbying firm to communicate with Congress….

This weekend Robert Zoellick, deputy secretary of state, will travel to Beijing to inaugurate what China is calling a “strategic dialogue”. The US prefers the term “senior dialogue” in deference to the more elevated “strategic” tag it reserves in Asia for Japan and Australia.

Seeking to build political influence in Washington, the Chinese embassy has retained Patton Boggs to lobby on a wide range of issues before Congress, according to a lobbying registration statement filed last week with the US Department of Justice.

The enlistment of Patton Boggs which has also represented such countries as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan highlights China’s efforts to respond to the rising wave of anti-Chinese sentiment in Congress. Beyond trade, the ill-feeling is also driven by Chinese threats towards Taiwan and China’s rapid military expansion which was highlighted this month by a special Pentagon report mandated by Congress.

Considering the current decibel level of anti-Chinese rhetoric, this is going to be a very uphill battle. It’s similar to what Saudi Arabia did shortly after 911, and trying to quell the flow of anti-Saudi invective was akin to trying to stop the Yangtze river with a thimble. Get ready for lots of warm-and-fuzzy fluff articles about what a fun-loving gang the CCP is.

Via CDT.

The Discussion: 8 Comments

Technically, I think it’s the lobbying people. So most of those warm, fuzzy stories may not be for public consumption. But for 22K a month (not an immense account) they’ll get about one warm fuzzy per, which will have to be a doozy to counter the monthly flood of anti-China invective in Washington right now. Hope they have the budget for some project work.

July 28, 2005 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

Richard, you haven’t thought of applying for the job yourself while you are over there? 🙂

July 28, 2005 @ 8:14 pm | Comment

The CCP has been trying for years to get me to do their PR. But their benefits suck. Also, as par to the contract I’d have to kick at least one FLG member daily, and I just can’t do it, bleeding heart softie that I am.

July 28, 2005 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

Surely they’d be happy if you just labelled them an “Evil Cult”™ once a day and left it at that?

July 28, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

I’d jump on board if only I could use any of the keywords phrases they would want to use in the U.S. on any message board in China. I imagine some of the words they would use in ads or well placed editorials in America would get caught by Chinese internet censors.

July 28, 2005 @ 11:33 pm | Comment

A billion dollars in PR might just cover the costs of each threat to rain down nuclear weapons on the US …

July 29, 2005 @ 12:15 am | Comment

A threat? Done is done.

No one is silly enough to revoke a threat with a billion dollars that could buy us a haul of minerals and crude oil from Zimbabwe and Sudan.

July 30, 2005 @ 10:57 am | Comment

Trying to miss the point? Or just missed it honestly?

August 1, 2005 @ 8:38 am | Comment

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