The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.

BBC Transmitter

Gary Rawnsley has words of caution for the British international broadcaster.

August 22, 2011
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Yet again we are confronted with a dilemma: when is culture an instrument of soft power? We talk about cultural diplomacy, cultural exchanges and even cultural influence. What is less discussed is how cultural paraphernalia connect to, integrate with, and ultimately enhance a nation’s soft power capital.

On 1 July 2010 Xinhua, the news agency of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), will launch a global 24-hour English-language television channel called China Network Corp (CNC). Trial broadcasts began on May 1.

When will China ever learn? It’s not how loud you speak, or how many times you say something, but what you say that counts. Reports that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has launched a new English-language newspaper, the Global Times, should be greeted with the usual mixture of delight (yet more evidence of the Chinese jumping on the public diplomacy bandwagon) and cynicism (yet more evidence of the Chinese jumping on the public diplomacy bandwagon).

In my previous contribution to this site I offered a brief and wide-ranging survey of contemporary Chinese public diplomacy which I described as "work in progress." China's relations with such odious regimes as Zimbabwe, together with its continued intimidation of democratic Taiwan, mean that positive developments, such as its increasingly affable and sensitive attitude towards Japan and its role in defusing nuclear crises in the Korean peninsula, are obscured.

This is the first of what I intend as a series of occasional postings about public diplomacy and soft power in and towards Asia, focusing principally on the People's Republic of China. This site is understandably concerned with western approaches to, and practices of, public diplomacy, especially as they relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the challenges of international terrorism. My aim is to draw attention to non-western perspectives that acknowledge, but are not dominated by, events in the Middle East.

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