China’s Global Influence in the Film Industry

Preethi Amaresh, Former Research Officer, Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S)

China’s rise is the economic story of the 21st Century and the entertainment industry is no exception. Cinema was introduced in 1896 in China.[i] The film industry is viewed as part of China’s modernization process and with the global influence wielded by the country’s economy, the rise of “cultural industries” in China is seen as the next step on a path from a developing nation to a world power.

Before the 1949 revolution, China had a vibrant film industry. There were studios in Shanghai – the city was known as the Hollywood of China – which made comedies, romances and melodramas on an almost weekly basis, which were very popular with domestic audiences. But during the Cultural Revolution, the ruling Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong came close to destroying Chinese cinema. Soon after the Cultural Revolution the film industry again flourished as a medium of popular entertainment. [ii]

With China’s liberalization in the late 1970s and its opening up to foreign markets, commercial considerations made its impact in the post-1980s filmmaking. Fifth-generation Chinese filmmakers who had graduated from the Beijing film academy   sought to popularize Chinese cinema abroad. Continue reading “China’s Global Influence in the Film Industry”

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Fluffy Ambassadors: China’s Panda Diplomacy

Preethi Amaresh, Research Officer, Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S)

The giant panda has proven itself to be an instrument of foreign affairs and its use as a soft power tool has played a part in International relations. Pandas are considered to be a symbol of peace for China. China’s policy of sending pandas as diplomatic gifts was revitalized in 1941 when Beijing sent two pandas to the Bronx Zoo as a “thank you” gift on the eve of the United States entering World War II. This stimulated the relationship between countries, which in turn increased China’s soft power in the panda-receiving country. Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, often engaged in panda diplomacy in the 1950s, sending the bears as gifts to North Korea and the Soviet Union.

According to one theory, the movement of pandas from China to another country means that the other country accepts the extension of “China” on its territory. It all began in 1941 where Soong Mei-Ling (First lady of the People’s Republic of China) sent the first batch of pandas as gifts to the U.S. In 1949, after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, more giant pandas were shipped abroad. One well-known example is when the Chinese government presented two pandas to U.S President Richard Nixon during his visit to China in 1982, which turned out to be an enormous diplomatic success with respect to China’s establishment of relations with the U.S. Continue reading “Fluffy Ambassadors: China’s Panda Diplomacy”

The Doklam Standoff and After: Whither India-China Relations?

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

The standoff between China and India in the Doklam area of Bhutan has been resolved with each government putting out differing versions of the exact terms of the settlement. But it is certain that status quo before 16 June this year has been restored. The Chinese have stopped their road construction in the area, which had led to the Indian action in the first place and Indian troops have pulled back to their positions.

The Chinese government has sought to sell the deal as a case of the Indians having blinked, of having bowed to Chinese threats and coercion. It is doubtful that the line has much purchase even within China where the netizen community might have constraints on their conversations but are not stupid and not entirely without access to information from the outside world. Continue reading “The Doklam Standoff and After: Whither India-China Relations?”

India and China: For a Change in Mindsets

Ravi Bhoothalingam, Honorary Fellow, ICS

In the previous article (“Why China matters”, May 2), we explored four reasons why China is important for India in our journey towards vikas for our citizens. Accordingly, the article argued that it is to India’s advantage to engage strongly with China on the economic front, whilst managing our various political differences. But what assets does India bring to the table in this engagement? What steps are needed to make it fruitful? Is it possible to think of China-India cooperation as having a larger — even transformational — effect on Asia if not the world? Continue reading “India and China: For a Change in Mindsets”

China’s Forum Diplomacy in South Asia

Naina Singh is a Research Intern at ICS and is pursuing MPhil at Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Although a lot has been said about China’s unique economic engagement with ASEAN countries, this article attempts to focus on China’s ‘forum tactics’ towards South Asia as part of its so-called ‘win-win cooperation’. China has constantly utilized the institutional platforms of ASEAN to channelize its growing economic interest in the region. The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has established its own benchmark and now China seems ready to focus on South Asia – stretching from Afghanistan to Myanmar.

Continue reading “China’s Forum Diplomacy in South Asia”

Attracting International University Students: India & China

Ambassador (retd.) Kishan S RanaHonorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

The Economist (19 March 2016) estimates that the global total of university students that go to foreign countries for studies is about 3.5 million, and estimates that the number may rise to 7 or 8 million by 2025. It also calculates the number of US students in foreign countries at 300,000, which could go up to 600,000 by 2020. China and India are two other major contributors to this form of ‘export’ of education services. China currently has about 500,000 that study in foreign countries, while India has sent out more than 300,000.

Continue reading “Attracting International University Students: India & China”

Brand Image and Soft Power of India and China

Ambassador (retd.) Kishan S Rana, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.

In the past 25 years new concepts have entered the lexicon of international affairs. In 1990, Joseph Nye gave us the notion of soft power (SP), the ability of a country to attract others, to attain its goals through inducement and gentle persuasion, rather than exertion of hard power.[1] We also learnt to think of countries as brands (CB), possessed of images akin to commercial brands; such attributes had earlier sometimes been seen as national stereotypes. The difference now was that we realized that like all brands, country images could be marketed, enhanced and manipulated. At the same time, public diplomacy (PD) emerged as a new activity, or rather as an old wine in a new bottle, describing effort by governments to reach out to publics, foreign and to an extent also one’s own people, to influence their perceptions on international issues. We realized that image and country marketing affected inflows of foreign tourists, and the way foreign businessmen viewed one’s country as a destination for business and investments. This gave salience to these new forms of public communication.

Continue reading “Brand Image and Soft Power of India and China”