Faced with widespread international criticism over China’s approach to a litany of issues both at home and abroad, its leader has an idea: a rebrand.
President Xi Jinping said this week that China must improve the way it tells its «stories» to a global audience as it seeks an «international voice» that reflects the growing status of the world’s second-largest economy, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
«We must pay attention to grasp the tone, be both open and confident but also modest and humble, and strive to create a credible, lovable and respectable image of China,» Xi said Monday at a Communist Party study meeting, according to Xinhua.
He added that it was crucial that China improve how it presented its narrative globally in order to «make friends.
The comments suggest a possible shift in China’s approach as relations with key powers — most notably the United States — continue to deteriorate.
They could also hint at a move away from so-called wolf warrior diplomacy, in which Beijing has positioned itself more assertively, and antagonistically, on the global stage.
But revamping China’s approach, and its image throughout the world, may be easier said than done.
China has faced criticism over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority population, and its crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy. Beijing has denied allegations of human rights abuses and rejected claims of a coronavirus cover-up, all while clashing with Washington over trade, Taiwan and territorial claims in the South China Sea.