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  • Haber giriş tarihi: 06 Ocak 2012 Cuma 16:49
  • Güncelleme saati: 16:57

Cultural war between China and the West


Abdülkadir Alkan* / SHANGAI

As in 1978 China has opened up the door to the outside world, constant drastic economic growth has played a key role in China becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world.

Despite being the world's second-largest economy, rapid increase at economic power has still not been directly proportional to international influence as expected. Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, during his speech at the CPC 90th anniversary gathering in July stressed the need to enhance cultural characteristics in order to raise further China's international standing and influence as its soft power.

While trying to build expanding cultural ties with Central East, Africa and Latin America, China has been opening non-profit Confucius Institutes all over the world since 2004 to promote Chinese culture abroad. In addition, China has been hosting international organizations, such as Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Harbin 24th Winter Universiade 2009, The World Expo 2010 Shanghai, International Horticultural Exposition 2011 Xi'an and Shenzhen 26th Summer Universiade 2011 to elevate its cultural power by means of participation in international cultural competition and cooperation. At the China's accession to the World Trade Organization 10th Anniversary Forum on 11th 2011 December Hu Jintao pointed out, for the past 10 years, China has given more than $30 billion as foreign aid, removed nearly $5 billion debt of 50 heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries and granted zero tariff policy for least developed countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

To sum up China has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in soft power; nonetheless, with respect to international influence China is still far away from having leading role in international affairs.

Two days ago, Chinese President Hu Jintao has made a statement on an official journal called "Qiu Shi" regarding cultural interaction between China and West. Hu Jintao warned the Communist Party against cultural warfare from the West. "As we face a world of cross-cultural interaction and intellectual exchange of ideas more frequent, the one possesses higher cultural influence, occupies stronger cultural soft power that enables to seize initiative in international competition." said Hu in his article.

Accusing The West as hostile international powers for westernizing and strategic dividing attempts, Hu indicated ideological and cultural fields are the two long-term infiltration areas Western hostiles focused.

China President has compared the West and China by means of cultural power and international influence; "the public opinion of "The great West, the weak China" has still not been changed."

Although it seems like Hu's harsh article could start a new debate about international cultural affairs; it resembled internal-oriented speeches former China Communist Party Leaders used to make in order to unify Chinese people against common enemy just before significant domestic reforms. This is the Chinese way of implementing radical reforms so that people's reactions to reforms would be limited. In other words as Chinese government has vowed to intensify controls on social media and instant messaging tools, in the highest-level official response to the extraordinary surge in micro blogging in October, Mr. Hu's article could be a step to censor the social network services in China.

Sina Weibo, which runs the most popular micro blog website in China, has set up a system to verify the identities of users, however, it's not nation-wide obligatory yet. Beijing Municipal government Information Office and Beijing Police Department released the "Beijing Micro-blog Development Management Rules", which require Weibo account users to use their real identities and that micro blogging service providers should verify users' identities before account initiation. The rules have been effective since December 16th.

*East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL)

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