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  • Davis Bowling

China: Filling the Gap

Updated: Jan 21


How the Chinese Communist Party can continue to discredit Western media while developing an international audience to support China’s rise as a global power

Introduction

Over the past decade, a tremendous difference has arisen in the portrayal of news events between China and the West. China’s state controlled media portrays China in an overly positive manner, while declaring Western media biased and unethical. This judgment has largely coincided with Western media reporting on highly sensitive domestic issues in China, namely the construction of a police state in Xinjiang Province and China’s strategic failure to combat COVID-19. As a result, much of the Western world significantly distrusts General Secretary Xi Jinping at a critical time for China and Chinese domestic politics. Xi is increasingly worried that any spillover of the Communist Party’s failures from Western media will disrupt his consolidation of power and prevent him from accomplishing the ‘Chinese Dream,’ thereby weakening the legitimacy of his personal leadership. As a result, China has tightened its censors and blocked foreign news outlets from the Chinese market. Rather than directly confronting Western media during this critical time for global mass media, China would be wise to implement strategic reforms within its Central Propaganda Department and media organs. By committing to reforms now, when worldwide trust in media is low, Xi can begin a campaign to further discredit Western media, narrowing the coverage gap between China and the West. This would allow China to court a larger, unwitting international audience which supports China’s rise as a global power and influencer, providing Xi and the Communist Party with legitimacy from around the world. As a result, Xi will cement his status alongside Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong as an immortal leader in modern China.


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