Beijing's soft power to gain (and buy) favour around the world
Washington (AsiaNews) - In recent years, the Chinese Communist regime likes to use a very fashionable phrase: "soft power". The Chinese people are most familiar with the Chinese Communist language: "a regime coming out of the barrel of a gun." Why now has it made this "soft power" fashionable?
With careful observation, we will find that this so-called "soft power" is not about the value concepts of the Westerners, such as freedom and democracy, but just an old script of the Communist Party from its founding days: propaganda. What it believes is still the principle by Josef Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister of Adolf Hitler: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
But now the approach of the Chinese Communist government has expanded even further than in the Stalin and Mao Zedong eras. Not only does it use the domestic media it monopolizes, it has also expanded its propaganda worldwide, combined with the nature of the modern bureaucratic capitalism.
One of its techniques is to buy off the media. If you observe the overseas Chinese media, you will find a phenomenon: the media that was either anti-Communist or neutral at the beginning, gradually evolves into a media that praises the Communist Party after a decade or so of time. Moreover, in order not to make their readers too disappointed with them, these media take a stand to hide the ugliness of and defend the Communist regime. They play down the crimes of the Communist Party, or advocate reconciliation with the Communist Party regardless, and recommend one absolutely should not resist the Communist Party.
Even some "reconciliation think tanks" have come out of this media evolution. Given the premise of the Communist Party declaring explicitly every day that it will not reconcile with any opposition, what is reconciliation? It is just a word synonymous for surrender. This kind of think tank is really amazing. It can make one believe that one is a fool while he is awake with eyes wide open. Joseph Goebbels would jump out of his tomb in great envy.
Goebbels penetrated into the enemy's media, and used people's trust of freedom and democracy to do propaganda for Fascism. He did it very well. The BBC's German service was infiltrated with the Nazi's culture spies. Now the Chinese Communist Party's infiltration of the overseas Chinese broadcasting has only expanded its scope.
The Chinese Communist government bribes Western academic and research institutions, using its ways to control these academic institutes by pulling people out while infiltrating in. They are even more deceitful, to the degree that it could cause disorder in the decision-making system of the West. That ability is because the majority of Western politicians are less understanding of politics and economics, but more experts on campaigns and shows. To a large extent, their decision-making depends on the academic institutions and scholars. So bribing scholars and academic institutions becomes a direct and effective way to influence the decision-making of the Western government.
Just as we observed in the media, we find similar phenomena in academics. The research institutions controlled by Western private capital scrambled to brown their noses on the Chinese Communist Party, to a degree that is laughable because they just do not know how to brown their noses there. There was a well-known research institution that released an index list of global happiness, and solemnly announced that the happiness index of the Chinese people is the highest of the world. If you are interested to check out the current annual income of this institution or its donors, it is also likely to be the highest.
Besides these unintentionally made jokes, most of the scholars and institutions do somehow care about their own faces. However, the scholars who once strongly criticized the Communist regime, now come out of the woods now and then to promote "peace, rationality, and non-violence", and then gently talk about how the Communist Party is indeed much better now than before or, that although China has some problems, the USA also has its problems, etc. The implication is that the human rights in a one-party autocracy are similar to that of democratic countries. Even the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights had learned to say some tasteless words like that. Thus, you see the influence of the united voice under the People's Daily has made on the U.S. decision-making.
Only bribing a group of scholars is certainly not enough. After all, scholars still have their minimum moral code, and still have their readers, and still have to engage a balance between their faces and money. Thus, there is a sentence from Chen Yun, the senior cadre of the Communist Party: "Our own army is still the most reliable." Thus, there are the propaganda institutes for professional con artists of the Communist Party to come out directly to do their work.
Although these professional liars of the Communist government have excellent eloquence, they have the great flaw of very low credibility, or even negative credibility. In other words, whatever these exposed professional liars praise is often determined by most people as fake without further analysis. People or events that are condemned by these liars are often determined by most of people as good indiscriminately. Not only the Chinese, even foreigners have learned this simple method of judgment. The negative effect of this propaganda has become a major bottleneck for the Chinese Communist propaganda at home and abroad.
So the Chinese Communist government has borrowed a big trick of modern advertising. It is called "packaging" described by the vulgar political science in Taiwan and Hong Kong. When the shells are wrapped with a layer of sugar coating, it will be able to breakdown the most unsuspecting target. If people had to live in a thick cover of protection every day, they would be really tired. Besides the Chinese people who are forced to be in this cover, the majority of Westerners who live happily do not have a thick bulletproof armor, so they are easily be deceived by these packaged sugarcoated shells.
In recent years, there have been many such institutions. Nominally, they are doing research and study, but in fact, they are doing propaganda. On the surface, they care about the whole globe, but their focus is China. They will say how Africans are suffering miserably, except that China is shining. They also have one essential characteristic: that is to recruit a large number of famous Western stars and scholars, in particular some prizewinners and former senior government officials, to make people confused by the packaging. While it is really manipulated by former diplomats and hired court scholars of the Communist Party, some Western media people with excellent native language skills are hired to make a language packaging for them.
These packaging institutes directly use the propaganda tone from People's Daily. Because their facades are covered with a large number of celebrities in various industries, coupled with some native English writers, there is no one who dares to come out to criticize them in the Western media. This deception is very powerful against the Western people who have no defenses. This deception has gradually developed to guide public opinion, and play an unusual influence towards their governments' decision-making.
The functionality of these celebrities and politicians who are used for the packaging is not just limited to the packaging itself. Their fans and relationships with all sectors of society are also intentionally or unintentionally helping these institutions, and influencing public opinion, as well as influencing governments' decision-making.
Money politics is the biggest drawback of the Western democracies. It has indeed been well used by the capitalized Communist Party in China. In this competition of autocracy against democracy and freedom, this influence of money is a drawback that plays the role of an internal traitor inside the fortress.