Zhao Qi Zheng: Chinese media should talk about Silk Road according to local sentiment due to various interpretations by different countries

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(China, Fuzhou 11 Sep) Chinese media would need to clarify misinterpretations that the international community have on One Belt One Road initiative, says Zhao Qi Zheng, head of State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China.

He said One Belt One Road initiative is progressing. Different countries may be differed in their views. Chinese media should source for a tailored solution to tell stories of “Silk Road”.

Using apple as metaphor, he told media representatives from overseas: “You and matters surrounding you are Chinese stories. You do not need to sensationalise them. People would share your true stories. As such stories are closest to truth; you must be touched by your stories before your stories can touch others.”

Original like apple

“A story is like an apple. Do not turn it into apple sauce or vitamin C. Once you eat the apple you will get the vitamin C – Chinese culture and Chinese characteristics are all in the story.”

He said this during his speech entitled: “A country’s image and responsibility of media’’ when touching on Chinese media in overseas and stories of China at the 9th Global Chinese Media Forum.

Zhao is of the view that apart from history, culture, political system, foreign and domestic policies, economic development, military strength, citizen’s quality and others which are the actual situation of a country and recognised by the public to shape a country’s image, media coverage plays a very important role in developing a country’s image.

In recent years, when the western media are reporting on China, the content is full of “China threat theory” especially when publishing political comics on China. Often they have misinterpreted China or even vilify China.

Overseas Chinese are natural connection

Zhao related a story to Chinese media.

“Once an American reporter asked me, there are so many Chinese in United States. How would the Chinese Government make use of these Chinese?”

After some thought, Zhao said: “The Chinese Government did not make use of these Chinese to do anything; overseas Chinese are the natural connection for US and China.”

He cited another example that when the President of India visited the outskirt in Shanghai, the village head cited GDP figures, average income and the numbers of houses built when introduced the rural area. The President then visited a villager’s home and asked the hostess the reason for their married children to have better room than theirs.

The hostess replied: “We treasure daughter-in-law here. She is our guest. We ought to treat our guests well.”

“The village head is talking about rationality; the hostess about matters on the ground. Which one is better?”

He said: “If China is a book, then the book is 1.3 billion in pages about China. Everyone has a page. After reading a few pages, a foreigner would have his perception of China. Hence, we have to manage our own page well.”

New opportunities brought by One Belt One Road

Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council deputy head Tan Tian Xing said as China is getting more influential at international community, the entire world hope to understand China more. This provides huge room for Chinese media.

He said Chinese media in overseas have enjoyed special advantage of knowing inside out and are important bridges which are indispensable in promoting One Belt One Road.

Scholars and Chinese media representatives from overseas shared their views and also raised questions during the forum.

China News Service editor-in-chief Wang Xiao Hui said as China is growing in strength and gaining in power of discourse, China is moving towards the centre of the global stage. Scenario in opinion platform is changing; Chinese media in the world are gaining more weight.

Fudan University Journalism School professor Xu Yan analysed that with the implementation of One Belt One Road, more changes are taking place according to the trend. Infrastructure facilities in transport and communication would push for communication and interaction to be easier in future, bringing Chinese media new opportunities.