“External Propaganda” as a Global Concept with Chinese Characteristics
Mareike Ohlberg, An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow
Since the early 21st century, China has considered a good national image and the ability to shape international public opinion as vital to national security and social stability. Despite massive reforms and expansion of China's "external propaganda" apparatus, including through selective absorption of other countries’ propaganda concepts and strategies, attempts to sway global public opinion still often seem heavy-handed and clumsy. Ohlberg will examine how and to what extent China has modernized its external propaganda structures, where it has failed, and why.
Mareike Ohlberg received her PhD in Chinese studies from the University of Heidelberg, with a dissertation on “Creating a Favorable International Public Opinion Environment: External Propaganda (duiwai xuanchuan) as a Global Concept with Chinese Characteristics.” In the dissertation, she examines the contradiction between China’s restrictive internal environment for propaganda, or media, and China’s efforts to influence foreign public opinion in a rapidly shifting global media arena. The focus of her study is on the ideological, historical, and institutional structures in which China’s external propaganda is embedded as well as on the influence of transcultural factors on the dynamics of PRC political process.