Thursday, April 19, 2018

Opinion: Chinese outbound: Is this ‘a thing’?

Yunzi Zhang,

image (not from article) from

THE Chinese outbound tourism market has grown substantially around the globe. Here, residents of Saipan have become very familiar with Chinese tourists walking, driving and shopping around. I think it would be great if we can all learn more about this market, as it does have a strong presence in this community.

Many ask the question whether the Chinese outbound market should be a research subject in itself. For example, Japanese tourists in the 1980s’-90’s also had a great impact on the world tourism industry. In the economic sense, it is true that both markets have contributed greatly to destinations’ local GDP. But the Chinese outbound market is different in several ways.

First, the market is gigantic. China now produces the world’s largest outbound market, and this is both in number of travelers and travel expenditure. The market accounted for about 21 percent of world international travel spending ($261 billion, 2016 UNWTO data), and this was about 10 times of 2006 ($24 billion, 3 percent). And, the trips were conducted by 8.7 percent of the Chinese population. If to be compared with the ranking of country GDP, their total spending would be on the Top 50 list, surpassing Finland, Portugal, Vietnam and Greece.

Second, we are in a digital revolution that has stimulated Chinese outbound’s growth in an unprecedented way. Internet- and mobile-oriented technologies have mushroomed in China. This is also the case for many other countries. It allows faster information-sharing about tourism products, and online word-of-mouth is powerful in changing people’s perceptions of a place. Social media almost was non-existence in the late 20th century. Therefore, the Chinese outbound market has emerged in a unique environment, and its impact is oftentimes magnified in the media. And this alone creates a lot of attention.

Lastly — perhaps the most important condition we need to recognize — the Chinese outbound market develops in the context of a rising China. Tourism development is a national strategy to reinforce China’s own economy and foreign diplomacy. In 2017, tourism contributed 11 percent of China’s GDP. Though still a small percentage compared with other industries, its function lies in boosting employment rate. Domestically, the concept of “integrated tourism” tries to make all regions, territories and terrains become of tourism interest for travelers. Tourism development, as an important policy, is rapidly spreading to provinces, towns and even villages. One interesting campaign now is the “toilet revolution.” City-level governments are busy building new and renovating old public restrooms. Many have developed mobile apps so that users can conveniently find those near them.

On the other hand, China sees tourism as a diplomacy tool. Public diplomacy [JB emphasis]can be strengthened when two cultures meet in a tourism setting. Research evidences attest to this, as human-to-human interactions foster mutual understanding. Culture is a necessary element of tourism, as we develop emotions in encounters with other people. Even in a completely natural environment, I believe that we react to the meaning of the place (given by people), rather than to the place itself. Because of this, China encourages its citizens to go abroad. Of course, this inevitably showcases the Chinese way of conduct, perceived both good and bad. In addition, the government advocates for visa-free or easier visa processing when negotiating with foreign entities. For example, a U.S. tourism visa for Chinese nationals is valid for 10 years, and the same for a tourism visa to Canada. Eligible people may also obtain a visa to Japan with 3- or 5-year validity. As for Europe, the visa application process has simplified. For example, the Italian Embassy in Beijing promises a processing time of 36 hours. Though allowing more Chinese to enjoy a leisure trip, the expansion of the market has made certain destinations dependent on Chinese tourists. In turn, this may become a leverage for China when it comes to foreign affairs. In 2017, we observed a decline of Chinese outbound travel to Korea because of the political dispute between the two governments. Therefore, to diversify the population of tourists at a destination is detrimental. However, this is easier said than done. After all, China has the biggest population on Earth — more people means more tourists. Statistically, it is difficult to keep a balance.

Thank you, and I welcome your views about the Chinese outbound market.

The writer is assistant professor, hospitality management, School of Business, Northern Marianas College

Losing The Battle: How China is Outperforming the USA in Sub-Saharan Africa

Henry Hama, Modern Diplomacy

uncaptioned image from article

If the United States hopes to regain its dominance in SSA [Sub-Saharan Africa] , it must change its paternalistic behavior towards African countries and it must regard China as true competition. The United States must discontinue rhetoric to discourage SSA countries from doing business with China, particularly when it is not presenting any alternative options. This will only alienate the United States from the very countries with which it wishes to strengthen bilateral relations. Instead of attempting to undo progress China has made in SSA, the United States must compliment those works and find ways to build capacity across African countries and sustain those new capabilities.

Africans desire economic independence. However, that can only be achieved through aiding them in the building of their own capacities rather than just making them dependent on the US. America must continue to encourage SSA build strong governing institutions. It is imperative to understand that democracy is more conducive to economic development because of the protection and balance of these various institutions. Developing countries need an institutional framework that supports a market economy, which include distinct institutions that foster exchange by lowering transaction costs and encouraging trust as well as those that influence the state and other powerful actors to protect private property and persons rather than expropriate and subjugate them respectively. The United States must do more to differentiate itself from China and become the preferred partner of choice across sub-Saharan Africa. So far, its strategy seems to be too focused on just criticizing China’s efforts and ignoring the legitimate relationship advantage it has built over the last decade. Unfortunately for America, the time has passed where the countries of Africa automatically will choose the US over all other competitors. The longer it takes America to realize this, and adapt to it competitively, the longer it will remain an African also-ran.

As Castro goes, US and Cuba still good frenemies | Opinion

Mac Margolis, Bloomberg View, Sun Sentinel

Image from article, with caption: In this Dec. 20, 2014 file photo, Cuba's President Raul Castro, left, shakes hands with Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, at the closing of the legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana

n April 18, Miguel Diaz-Canel will be sworn in as the new Cuban president. The transition is a landmark for the island nation, where for the first time in six decades a Castro will not be in command. It will also shift the mental landscape of a region which — even as memories of Latin dictators and Yanqui imperialism fade — can still swoon to the revolution that was.

No one expects Cuba to radically change course. Although Raul Castro is officially stepping aside, he'll go no further than the top slot at the Cuban Communist Party, where eminence grise is the new khaki. And don't expect a truce in the sexagenarian feud between Havana and Washington, which has only escalated under Trump.

Yet Cuba and the U.S. also are bound by strategic interests that have remained remarkably solid despite the continuing vitriol over the Florida Strait. Even as public diplomacy [JB emphasis] festers, in recent months shared policy initiatives, technical cooperation pacts and binational task forces have survived and, in some cases, even strengthened.

It's not just the emergency ops, such as the joint rescue mission earlier this month by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Cuban Border Guard to intercept a boatload of Haitian refugees drifting off the coast of Cuba. Both nations touted the heroics of the island's fire brigade, which in February swooped down to help stop a wildfire that threatened the U.S. military base in Guantanamo — a remarkable gesture given how the gringo outpost has long chafed on Cuban pride.

Cuba and the U.S. have long coordinated to patrol the maritime borders, and dousing the Guantanamo fire was only possible because of two decades of joint natural disaster response drills by U.S. troops with the Cuban military's Frontier Brigade.

Transnational crime also has drawn the Americas' signature enemies closer. Although neither side flaunts it, Havana and Washington have collaborated for more than two decades to interdict drug shipments, human traffickers, cross-border crime cartels, money launderers, and more recently even Medicare cheats. U.S. authorities say Cuba could do more to prosecute international outlaws. Yet the 16-country Financial Action Task Force of Latin America recently acknowledged Cuba's efforts to identify terrorist groups and starve them of assets as “complete and consistent.”

“Cuba used to be an incredible blind spot in the Caribbean and so a safe haven for international criminals,” William LeoGrande, a professor at American University, told me. “The joint crackdown has forced traffickers to shift routes, and that success is one reason so many security professionals have been arguing against rolling back the Obama-era policy of approximation with Cuba.”

Geoff Thale, a Cuba expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, agrees. “There have been six separate technical exchanges between Cuba and the U.S. in the last year or so,” Thale said in an interview. “Despite the chill of the Trump administration, it's clear the U.S. Coast Guard, Southern Command, and the Drug Enforcement Administration all believe that Cuba is an important barrier to crime.”

This isn't capitulation to Washington's agenda, but the same strain of pragmatism that has driven Cuba to embrace some reforms of its shambolic economy. “As Cuba reintegrates into the global economy and engages with countries in its own hemisphere, it understands the growing risks of money launderers and international crime groups,” said Thale. “So it's in their interest to rein this in.”

Some clear-thinking officials in Washington also have taken note. “There's a growing awareness that a stable, functioning Cuban government is an important force for hemispheric stability,” sociologist Bernardo Sorj, a Latin America scholar at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, told me. “Though there's little love lost between the two countries, the question is what will happen tomorrow if Cuba destabilizes.”

More than neighborly good will, U.S.-Cuban cooperation speaks to a broader awareness of the challenges of hemispheric security — one that has weathered years of the brute diplomacy that so many of the region's ideologues have favored, and which threatens to rear up again.

Beating world-class criminals will be just as daunting as reinventing the New World's oldest command economy. But the U.S. and Cuba share too many interests and vulnerabilities to indulge the hoary antagonisms of last century's quarrel.

Inside Rex Tillerson’s Ouster

Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker

The last days of his brief and chaotic tenure as Secretary of State

Image from the article, with caption: Before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was abruptly fired, he oversaw a State Department that appeared to be plunged into chaos at every level.

Rex Tillerson’s team was fighting again. “So, who’s going to go in with him?” Margaret Peterlin, his chief of staff, was saying. She looked me up and down with an expression that suggested she’d discovered a pest in the house. We were standing at the wide double doors into the Secretary of State’s office on Mahogany Row, the opulent, wood-panelled corridor on the seventh floor of the State Department’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, which houses the most powerful offices in American foreign policy. Steven Goldstein, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs [JB emphasis], folded his arms and stared daggers at Peterlin. “Well, I guess I won’t be,” he told her. “Heather can go.” Goldstein tilted his head toward Tillerson’s spokesperson, the former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert. Peterlin narrowed her eyes at Goldstein. “Are you sure?” she said, with theatrical displeasure. Goldstein didn’t reply. Tillerson strode up to the door, cutting the tension. Nauert and Peterlin joined the interview, along with Tillerson’s director of policy planning, Brian Hook. Goldstein remained outside. (Peterlin said that she was following a rule enacted by Secretary Tillerson that only one communications officer be allowed in his interviews.)

Such discord often simmered just under the surface in the year before Tillerson’s unceremonious firing in March, according to multiple members of his embattled inner circle. Often, it emanated from Peterlin, a formidable attorney, U.S. Navy veteran, and former congressional staffer who helped draft the Patriot Act after the September 11th attacks and guided Tillerson through his confirmation process. When she was passed a note indicating I’d arrived that day, she’d given the rest of the team an ultimatum: from the public-relations staff, only Goldstein would be permitted in the interview. Goldstein had pointed out that Nauert, as spokesperson, would be responsible for answering ensuing public questions. Peterlin insisted that there was simply no room. One staffer present said that there was another motivation: Peterlin had been lobbying to get Nauert fired. (Peterlin said that she did not lobby to fire Nauert, and pointed out that Nauert still holds her position as spokesperson, today.) The standoff hadn’t been resolved by the time I was ushered in to see Tillerson, nor as I left, when a second contretemps erupted over who would stay behind with the Secretary. (Goldstein again insisted on Nauert, visibly vexing Peterlin.) This squabbling barely qualified as drama, but displaying it so openly in front of a reporter was at odds with the kind of tightly organized messaging prized by most of Tillerson’s predecessors. It provided a small window into a State Department that appeared to be plunged into chaos at every level. ...

Until Tillerson was finally fired, in March, rumors of his demise were relentless. Mike Pompeo, the former C.I.A. director, whom President Trump nominated to replace Tillerson, was one popularly cited successor. Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was another. The perception that Tillerson had a rivalry with Haley appeared to be a source of particular vexation for the Secretary and his team. The day I met with him, they were still reeling from an announcement Haley had made about plans to withhold U.S. funding for U.N.R.W.A., the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees. Tillerson hadn’t been consulted. In a series of tense e-mails, Haley’s press office told Tillerson staffers that it had checked with the White House instead. Tensions between Secretaries of State and U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations were nothing new, but this enmity seemed to run deeper. “Holy shit,” the source close to the White House said, “I’ve never seen anything like the way he’s treated her . . . it’s shocking.” Tillerson’s “rage” toward Haley had drawn the disapproval of even the President, the source added. Goldstein, the former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, attributed unflattering accounts from White House sources to disgruntled rivals. “What is said is the furthest from the truth,” he said. ...

In the months before his firing, Tillerson attempted to soften his messaging, praising the value of the Foreign Service in a Times Op-Ed and a “60 Minutes” interview. The guillotine finally descending suggested that the warmer embrace was unwelcome. Last month, Tillerson himself became the latest diplomat to receive a pink slip. “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become your new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!” As was increasingly the norm, the State Department was the last to know. “The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason,” a statement from Goldstein read. ...

How US diplomats abroad can save the country from Trump

Maira Khan,

image from

“Hate crime and Islamophobia increase after Trump Victory.”

It was the main headline published in an English language newspaper in UAE.

That headline was not unique for the rest of the world. It was rather a great shock for the much of the world because of voters’ endorsement of a person who believes in racism or ethnic differences. Muslims are not the only target of this hate that the election of Donald Trump unleashed. African Americans are uniting under one flag because racism increased to its extreme during the Trump era.

Now the US diplomats must learn to deal with Trump presidency and its effects which is a horrific reality. At this point it may be reasonable to be pessimistic about public diplomacy [JB emphasis] in the coming years.

Professionalism has constantly been required as a counterbalance to politics, and now that will be of extreme significance. While operating under extraordinarily difficult situations, FSO will continue to assist as a backbone of American diplomacy. Many other foreign governments will probably distrust Trump’s America and their publics even more so. Assuming that Trump’s appointees and the Congress value in on the public diplomacy and hence fund them, it is of utmost necessity that American diplomats from around the world rectify their work to meet new realities.

Irrespective of how long the “Trump era” lasts – four years? Eight years? Or longer? – basic elements of the American environment will remain pure and clean by the kind of behavior showed during the election campaign. American academic life and arts will maintain their honour. Education in America will continue to be an attractive opportunity for millions of young students overseas. These are public diplomacy assets and they cannot be weakened or damaged by the state of affairs in Washington under one president only.

Perhaps the biggest challenge anticipating public diplomats will be helping foreign publics distinguish between Trump’s values and the traditional American values. Many questions were raised after Trump came to power – Can people from other ethnicities or colour feel safe while visiting America? Can women expect to be respected while in America? Is US still worthy of rivalry or competition? – Answering such questions for American government would not be easy, especially if campaign affectation becomes presidential bombast.

But what is more important is that the public diplomacy will be of extreme significance as more and more people throughout the world benefit from having access to the different tools of technology and information. It would be crucial for the foreign publics to enhancing US foreign policy and the state’s long-term security, no matter who the American president happens to be. Possibly, the Trump administration would understand this.

Hollywood's malicious propaganda dehumanizes all Russians

Michael McCaffrey,; original article contains links.

Uncaptioned image from article

A closer inspection of America’s relentless Russophobic propaganda campaign reveals that it isn’t just the news media spreading hatred of Russia and Russians, but Hollywood as well.

America’s unrelenting propaganda assault on Russia began by demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is routinely blamed for every evil that occurs under the sun, and according to the establishment media, there is nothing too evil that the Bond super-villain Putin cannot accomplish.

The US likes to personalize its enemy into one caricature so that Americans have an effigy onto which they can project their fear and loathing. A brief glance at recent history shows this to be true as the US used the same playbook with Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong-Il.

Sometimes, when an enemy lacks the requisite charismatically evil leader to fit the propaganda bill, the US will demonize whole peoples, for example the Japanese in World War II. The dehumanizing of the Japanese people, instead of a single leader, is what convinced Americans to accept the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the use of nuclear weapons on Japan to end that war, which is in marked contrast to Americans’ attitudes towards German-Americans.

In the current propaganda war with Russia, the US seems to be taking a unique hybrid approach. Putin is certainly held up as an icon of evil but Russians and people of Russian descent are as also being demonized and in some very insidious and disturbing ways.

For instance, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, told NBC in an interview, “…the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain-favor, whatever...”

Clapper’s statement maligns all Russians, even Russian-Americans, as genetically duplicitous and diabolical. Such repulsive xenophobia isn’t just good old-fashioned American Russia-hating, it is fast becoming US policy.

Also, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election has deemed all people “of Russian descent or nationality” to be potential targets of its investigation. There are 3 million Russian-Americans in the US, and according to the committee, they are now all suspects.

In the same vein, Senator Dianne Feinstein demanded that Facebook turn over to the Senate any data related to “Russia-connected accounts.” Feinstein broadly defines Russia-connected accounts as “a person or entity…that may be in some way connected to Russia, including by user language setting, user currency or other payment method.”

Feinstein and Clapper’s Russophobia and totalitarian instincts are chilling, and they will find little resistance from the American people who are being surreptitiously indoctrinated by Hollywood to believe that Russians are inherently devious miscreants.

It has been well established that Hollywood is the propaganda wing of the Pentagon and the intelligence community, and that it has effectively indoctrinated Americans to whole-heartedly support the nation’s belligerent militarism and to see the US as always the well-intentioned hero.

So it is no surprise that Richard Stengel, former managing editor of Time magazine (2006-2013) and under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs under President Barack Obama (2014-2016) [JB emphasis], saw the success of the Pentagon-Hollywood alliance in shaping public opinion and tried to emulate it. It was revealed in a trove of hacked Sony emails released by WikiLeaks, that in 2014, while officially serving in the Obama administration, Stengel approached Hollywood studios asking for help in countering “Russian narratives.”

Stengel was wise to ask for Hollywood’s assistance, as entertainment is a much more insidious form of propaganda than “fake news.” It is designed to manipulate emotions and audiences have been conditioned to allow it to do so. Viewers willingly let their guard down and suspend their disbelief when they watch a film or television show, and therefore their critical thinking function is reduced and they become much more pliable and vulnerable to propaganda.

It is in this state of vulnerability when their emotions are triggered and their conscious mind is bypassed, that the nefarious ideas of the propagandist are implanted in the viewer’s unconscious. This is why businesses pay so much money for “product placement” in films and why the Pentagon has embedded itself so deeply into the entertainment industry.

The extent to which Stengel’s conversations with Hollywood bigwigs convinced the studios to act is not yet fully known, but since he made his plea to the studios, Hollywood has churned out a steady stream of films that have portrayed Russians as a deplorable people.

Some of the most prominent of them were Child 44 (2015), the story about a Russian serial killer starring Tom Hardy, Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies (2015) starring Tom Hanks and Atomic Blonde (2017) starring Charlize Theron, both about nefarious Cold War Russian spies, and Bitter Harvest (2017), the story of famine induced by Joseph Stalin upon Ukrainians in the 1930s. These films, all set during the Cold War (except for Bitter Harvest), uniformly portray Russians as treacherous, vicious, malicious and merciless.

On television, there has been the recurring anti-Russian storyline on the hit Netflix show House of Cards, where a remorseless and repugnant Putin-esque Russian leader cynically destroys people’s lives.

Last month the newest batch of films and television shows hit screens with the same theme of degrading and dehumanizing the Russian people as their propaganda predecessors.

Red Sparrow is the story of a former ballerina turned Russian super spy trained in the sexual arts and stars the highest paid actress in the world, Jennifer Lawrence. The Death of Stalin is a dark comedy about the power struggle in the Soviet Union to fill the void after Stalin’s death. And the hit FX television show The Americans is about a couple living in Cold War America in the 1980s who are actually deep undercover Soviet spies.

Red Sparrow is a prime example of Hollywood’s attempt to incite Americans to distrust and dislike the Russian people. The film is set in modern day Russia but feels decidedly Cold War in its depiction of the country as a bleak frozen tundra inhabited by the most paranoid and despicable of people.

Every Russian man in the film is a vicious murderer, pedophile, rapist or traitor…and in the case of the lead villain played by Matthias Schoenaerts, a Vladimir Putin look-a-like, all of the above.

Red Sparrow’s Russian women fare no better as they are all cold-blooded, conniving, manipulative whores who are only proficient at sex, ballet or both.

The Death of Stalin is a considerably better film than Red Sparrow, but that only means it is a more effective propaganda tool.

In the film, under a veneer of humor, all Russians are portrayed as deceitful, corrupt, unscrupulous monsters only interested in selling out their comrades, gaining power and then brutally abusing it.

The television show The Americans by its premise alone also ingrains in its audience the idea that Russians are not to be trusted because they are instinctively a deceptive and plotting people.

The trudging up of the Cold War is an easy propaganda device that triggers old anti-communist and anti-Soviet fears among Americans. It is striking to note that Hollywood is portraying Russians solely in terms of the Cold War but not in regards to World War II. That is because Russia’s role in defeating Hitler and ending the war in the Pacific is a heroic one and would undermine the foundation of Cold War enmity upon which the current Russophobic narrative is built.

As Hollywood and the news media continue to indoctrinate Americans with an anti-Russian animus, US audiences will become even more susceptible to stories, like the Skripal poisoning, that feed the anti-Russian narrative no matter how tenuous or divorced from the facts they may be.

The problem of Hollywood and America’s Russophobia will only get worse, and that is troubling for all of us, because in this current climate, a war with Russia seems possible, and that would be a movie without a happy ending.

Michael McCaffrey is a freelance writer, film critic and cultural commentator. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he runs his acting coaching and media consulting business.

Attack on Confucius Institutes motivated; Editor: Mo Hong'e

image (not from article) from

Editor's note: Recently several U.S. senators including Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Joe Wilson have appealed to the U.S. Congress to list Confucius Institutes as "foreign agents" according to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

Hardliners have hijacked the U.S.' trade policies

Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University

The latest assault on Confucius Institutes in the United States is part of concerted efforts to limit the engagement and exchanges with China by forces hostile to China. Even the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission affiliated to the U.S. Congress, in its annual report issued in November, has demanded that Chinese media outlets in the U.S. be listed as "foreign agents".

The Foreign Agents Registration Act was enacted in 1938 to restrict political propaganda by Nazi Germany. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the act requires people acting as agents of foreign powers in a political or quasi-political capacity to disclose their relationship with the foreign government, and their related activities, including receipts and disbursements of funds. However, the wanton or dubious use of FARA will create serious problems for even normal cultural and civil exchanges between China and the U.S..

This raises the question: Why some U.S. politicians are targeting cultural programs and exchanges organized by China? The fact is, what we see today is the inevitable development of the debate on China's policies in the U.S. from 2014 to 2016, which gave U.S. hardliners the upper hand in bilateral relations. The debate also revealed the Trump administration is reducing its engagement and increasing its efforts to contain China.

New fronts have opened up in the "anti-China war" thanks to the efforts of the hardliners. Given these facts, the targeting of Chinese cultural and exchange programs by certain U.S. politicians is not hard to explain. Policies unfavorable to China and Sino-U.S. relations are being introduced because there are no political elements to effectively counter the hardliners' assault on China. This shows the tide has turned in Sino-U.S. relations and U.S. President Donald Trump is only following the trend, which incidentally he also helped start.

Despite the US' confrontational moves, however, China can still take some measures to ease tensions on this front. For instance, it can encourage nongovernmental exchanges to clear the US' doubts over government-funded programs. But more dexterity and agility should be applied when dealing with Sino-U.S. ties in these gloomy times.

U.S. has no reason to doubt Chinese culture

Wang Lili, deputy dean of National Academy of Development and Strategy, and an associate professor at Renmin University of China

Certain U.S. politicians and opinion leaders have increasingly labeled China's cultural programs in and exchanges with the U.S. states as activities aimed at exporting authoritarianism, with Confucius Institutes bearing the brunt. Some of them have even used a concocted concept of "sharp power" to question China's overseas cultural activities.

Reflecting the Cold-War mentality and double standard, it can be seen as part of the China-containment strategy adopted by some Western countries. Voices in favor of containing China and engaging in strategic competition with it have taken hold in the U.S. media and other fields, with some anti-China hawks giving the bugle call for battle. This should explain why Chinese overseas cultural exchange programs, including those through Confucius Institutes, have been targeted.

Yet China urgently needs to conduct public diplomacy [JB emphasis] and strengthen cultural exchanges with other countries, including the U.S., as these are major channels to improve soft power and the national image, build trust and promote peace. To achieve this goal, the following measures should be taken.

First, public diplomacy should be diversified to fully mobilize the non-governmental forces, including think tanks, mass media and business enterprises. Second, the importance of Chinese culture should be explained. And third, new media should be wisely and extensively used to better conduct public diplomacy and spread Chinese culture.

The peaceful rise of China is an irreversible trend. So, the U.S. should abandon its prejudices against China and properly evaluate China's public diplomacy and cultural exchange programs. Only through all-embracing cultural exchanges that seek harmony in diversity can we make the world a better, more diverse and colorful place for future generations.