PR Play of the Week: From China to the UN, by way of CBS

In an attempt to charm the American people, Chinese president Jiang Zemin summoned Mike Wallace of CBS's 60 Minutes to an interview in China and earned himself a PR Play of the Week.

In an attempt to charm the American people, Chinese president Jiang Zemin summoned Mike Wallace of CBS's 60 Minutes to an interview in China and earned himself a PR Play of the Week.

In an attempt to charm the American people, Chinese president Jiang Zemin summoned Mike Wallace of CBS's 60 Minutes to an interview in China and earned himself a PR Play of the Week.

Wearing a fixed grin that would frighten small children, Jiang exuded almost Clinton-like charm in an effort to portray himself as a warm and cuddly world leader.

President Jiang, who for years declined Wallace's repeated requests for interviews, finally sat down with the veteran investigative reporter in last Sunday's broadcast out of a desire to 'promote a mutual understanding between two peoples.' The interview, coordinated by China's Information Office of the State Council, was timed in advance of President Jiang's attendance at the UN Millennium Summit and the Senate vote on granting China permanent normal trade status.

Jiang said that his intention in the interview was 'to convey a nice message to the American people.' The interview played like a dance between an overzealous leader stepping on the toes of a tolerant follower, with Wallace asking pointed questions on issues that have complicated US-China relations, and President Jiang giving artfully inexplicit answers.

A former student revolutionary, President Jiang sidestepped Wallace's question about whether he sympathized with the student protesters at the 1989 Tiananmen uprising. But he did sing a few bars of a Chinese protest song that he used in 1943 against Japanese colonizers. It got weirder - Jiang went on recite the 'All Men are Created Equal' part from the Gettysburg Address.



Nominations for PR Play of the Week should be sent to news@prweekus.com.



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