SVP and Director of Public Affairs, Global Corporate Practice
Manning Selvage & Lee
China's government suffers from two interrelated problems of image:
memories of its brutal crackdown in Tiannamen Square and a more general
sense that it cares little about human rights. The government needs to
send a message that the China of today is more open, more accessible,
and more inviting of free-flowing discussion than the China of Mao
Through TV and other means of communication, it should let the world see
the advances that China is making through trade and a more aggressive
engagement in world affairs. It also should put on display the youthful
leaders who will shape China in the next century, reinforcing the point
that today's China is a far cry from the mysterious land of doddering,
Earle Palmer Brown
First and foremost, China would have to demonstrate to the world a
significant turnaround in its human rights policies. This is a threshold
requirement. Next, is the issue of venues. Since Tiannamen Square will
be forever linked with student deaths, it would hardly be an appropriate
location for any Olympic ceremony or athletic event. One solution ...
find or build suitable alternative venues and use the occasion of the
Olympic Games as a global communications platform for recognizing
Tiannamen Square as an enduring memorial to the human ideal of free
First, the Chinese should be looking to project the culture of the
country because they have an enormous heritage in the performing and
visual arts. Second, there is a need to project the rising middle class
and their values. When I visited, I saw a very thriving economy, one
that wouldn't exist if it were throttled by a repressive government.
Thirdly, they are evolving a legal system there and have certainly
changed a lot on the human rights issue. They ought to talk about that.
The ministers I spoke to were willing to talk to the US media about it.
I think they should visit countries like the US, England and some of the
world media centers and provide more dialogue about what China is today
and the evolution that is going on there. That would help their image a
China needs to communicate the transformation it has made in the past
ten years both economically and socially. They need to demonstrate to
the world how they have embraced capitalism while maintaining their rich
culture and history. Visitors to China can experience the hundreds of
life-size stone carved warriors in Xian, the 4,500-mile-long Great Wall
and the Forbidden City in Beijing. China offers visitors a fascinating
step back in time. Yet, it offers a glimpse into the future as well with
modern cities like Shanghai, which may be the most cosmopolitan city on
the planet, with more neon lights than Las Vegas.