China is on the rise, there is no question. But many people in the west still view China as a threat; and propaganda campaigns are beginning to appear here to transform negative western sentiments. (Watch MSNBC for the most recent one that aired today). Pro China TV ads that glorify and extol the greatness of China can be used to transform how the west views the Chinese in a favorable light; but it can also have the effect of detracting from perceptions of our own cultural greatness and potential in the process. National pride campaigns beamed to our airwaves from foreign countries, compete with our own national pride campaigns here at home: The media is a powerful tool for creating mass public opinion.
I have demonstrated in a previous post that the real threat comes (not from China, itself but) from how we have chosen to organize our society around valuing consumerism over production and self sufficiency. However, if we are continuously fed media that shows how great China is, is it possible that we will overlook the mistakes we are, ourselves, making to the Chinese advantage? It may be a little far fetched but the issue is worth noting at the very least.
I’m not saying that our nations cannot mutually benefit one another–In fact, we will have to find a way that a win-win situation can, and does, happen into the future; or there could be one ugly war on the horizon. Geopolitics in the Asia-Pacific region is a very sensitive world issue that cannot be ignored for much longer. It is imperative that we view each other in a friendly light. There is no need for hatred, xenophobia, or racism in a civilized society. However, we can, and must not forget that we both must benefit from our relationship in more ways than cheap consumer goods in exchange for a boost to the Chinese economy alone. China’s rise comes with a whole set of other issues that need to be addressed–economic issues (currency value of both US and Chinese currencies), geopolitical issues (US presence in the Asian-pacific; Korea, Japan, Taiwan etc.), and issues of trade reciprocation (is the west merely going to keep buying without selling back products of it’s own?).
Pro-Chinese propaganda campaigns on our airwaves are a great way to shape public opinion of China in a positive light as they emerge as one of the world’s great nations once again. But, we must be cautious and aware of the world that we live in, our position within it, and how each side serves to gain and to lose in our future partnership.
~Justin Allen Philcox