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Creating a Favorable International Public Opinion Environment: External Propaganda (Duiwai Xuanchuan) as a Global Concept with Chinese Characteristics

Ohlberg, Mareike Svea

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This thesis offers a political history of PRC propaganda targeted at foreigners in the 20th and 21st century. It seeks to give an answer to the seeming contradiction that particularly over the last decade, China has repeatedly pledged to invest more resources into improving its image and influencing international public opinion, yet at the same time, there continue to be blunders of the most basic type, particularly in areas where China wants to influence foreigners’ opinions most. The thesis examines how and to what extent China has been able to adapt its external propaganda apparatus, initially set up on the basis of the Soviet propaganda model that depended on the ability of the Party to regulate the flow of information into and out of China, to the current global media environment marked by porous national borders and fast-paced flows of information across the globe. Drawing on internal publications, archival documents, openly available materials, and interviews, it combines a bird’s-eye perspective on the development of external propaganda in China over the course of the 20th and 21st century with in-depth reading and analysis of key texts. Two propositions are tested: First, that external factors, including foreign models that China learns from, have had significant impact on how Chinese external propaganda policy has developed and second, that previous choices the PRC has made for its external propaganda sector substantially restrict the options available to the CPC today. Arguing that external propaganda has been path dependent at various levels, this study explains the difficulties China’s external propaganda apparatus continues to face as well as what strategies people pushing for reforms have used to overcome historical, ideological, and bureaucratic baggage.

Document type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Wagner, Prof. Dr. Rudolf G.
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 10 April 2013
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2014 06:12
Date: 2014
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Institut für Sinologie
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