China is the most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion people and is the fourth largest in land area, occupying most of East Asia. It has the world's fastest growing economy, is the largest coal user, and after the U.S., the second largest oil user. China is spending billions of dollars getting foreign energy and is making efforts to invest in hydro-electric power, for example, spending $25 billion on the Three Gorges Dam.  
China's public diplomacy
Entering the race to win hearts and minds, China has begun an image campaign to bolster its global economic and political ambitions. "Beijing has already opened 27 branches of the Confucius Institute around the world in less than a year, and it has a budget of $200-million (U.S.) annually to teach Chinese to foreigners," Canada's Globe and Mail reports. As part of China's "charm offensive" led by President Hu Jintao, the effort includes plans for 70 more culture and language centers in the next five years. "China is starting to develop a public diplomacy strategy, and it includes not just diplomatic finesse but also public relations and the export of Chinese culture and values," Yuen Pau Woo, president of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, told the paper. "It's what you would expect of a rising power. It's the soft architecture of being a global player."
In March 2008, IDG News Service reported that Human Rights Watch and major Internet service providers were working on "a code of conduct addressing how major Internet service providers and portal operators should deal with Internet censorship in China. The code is due in the next couple of months and comes in the run up to the Beijing Olympic Games that begin in August." Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth remarked, "One of our concerns is the degree to which the major international Internet companies have become complicit in this censorship of the Internet." 
In November 2007, the U.S.-based company Yahoo! "settled a lawsuit by two Chinese journalists who were jailed after the Internet giant provided Beijing authorities with information about their online activities. ... The case was brought earlier this year on behalf of the two prisoners, Wang Xiaoning and Shi Tao, who sued the company under U.S. human rights laws in federal court in Oakland. Seeking unspecified damages, they, along with their families, accused Yahoo of illegally giving information about their online activities to Chinese law enforcement."
"Wang, an editor of several journals espousing political reform, was arrested at home in 2002 during a raid by police, and later sentenced to 10 years in a Beijing prison on charges of trying to subvert the government. The lawsuit alleged that Yahoo provided authorities with his e-mail records, which included pro-democracy writings he had sent anonymously to others, including some overseas."
"Shi, a journalist, was arrested in 2004 and convicted based on similar evidence of sending word of a media crackdown to the New York Web site Democracy Forum. He is also serving a 10-year sentence." 
Lobbying firms retained by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the U.S.
An agreement entered into by Patton Boggs with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China states that the firm will be paid $22,000 per month to represent the embassy for unspecified purposes. The letter of engagement identifies Timothy Chorba, Larry Harris and Mark D. Cowan as the principal Patton Boggs staff working on the account.
Another concurrent agreement with Jones Day and signed by Donald B. Ayer specifies that the firm will be paid $15,000 per month for services including "monitoring and reporting on Congressional developments and activities which may be of interest to the foreign principal." A November 2006 letter from Herbert J. Hansell attached to the agreement stated that "in accordance with our relationship during the past 20 years, the services will continue to be provided primarily by Robert M. Brown and I will continue to have general supervisory responsibility for this relationship."
Tobacco industry activity
Tobacco industry activity in Hong Kong provides a good example of an attempt by a tobacco company to create a market, and reveals the faultiness of the industry's oft-used argument that brand-switching is the only intended function of tobacco advertising. In 1984, Philip Morris launched the Virginia Slims brand in the Hong Kong market. The ads were clearly targeted at young women, and showed images of beauty, slimness and the promotion of Western cultural images, and with clear messages of emancipation. Television advertisements first showed an old-style black and white movie of a young woman controlled by her father then switched images of a young, chic woman of today. "But things are different now" was the theme of this advertisement. According to government statistics at the time, only about 1% of women under the age of 40 years smoked in Hong Kong, so the number who could be targeted by this expensive advertising blitz simply for brand-switching alone was negligible. Instead, the advertising effort seemed to be a clear attempt to create a market.
Tobacco industry documents
- A poster for 555 Filter King cigarettes displayed in Guangdong Province to announce a Lucky Draw designed to raise funds for China's 6th National Games.
- The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China (English) http://english.gov.cn/index.htm
- China View The English language version of Xinhua News Agency http://www.chinaview.cn/
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- BRIC Alliance
- China and Coal
- China: The next economic superpower
- China APPG
- China International Public Relations Association
- China-Iran-Russia axis
- China's Corporate Friends in High (and Low) Places
- China's oil industry
- Minqi Li
- National Committee on United States-China Relations
- Russia-China-India "strategic triangle"
- Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- Toxic Chinese Products
- Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. - former US Ambassador (Conservative Christian)
- ↑ China, National Geographic, accessed November 2007.
- ↑ Country profile: China BBC, accessed November 2007.
- ↑ Geoffrey York, "Beijing uses Confucius to lead charm offensive: New Vancouver institute part of network promoting China's culture and language", Globe and Mail, September 9, 2005.(Only the lead paragraph is available for free).
- ↑ Martyn Williams, "Chinese Internet censorship code of conduct in the works: Human rights group prepares a code of conduct for how ISPs should deal with Internet censorship in China in the run up to the Beijing Olympic Games," IDG News Service, March 18, 2008.
- ↑ Verne Kopytoff, "Yahoo settles with jailed Chinese journalists," San Francisco Chronicle, November 14, 2007.
- ↑ Mark D. Cowan, Letter to Zhang Ping, Patton Boggs, June 1, 2007.(Pdf)
- ↑ Herbert J. Hansell, Letter to Zhang Ping, Jones Day, November 30, 2006.(Pdf)
- ↑ International Organization of Consumers Untions, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital Tobacco Control in the Third World: A Resource Atlas 1990. 254 pages. Bates No. 2060476817/7069
- Country profile: China BBC, accessed November 2007.
- Kathy Chen and Geoffrey A. Fowler, "Microsoft Defends Censoring a Dissident's Blog in China", Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2006.
- Bruce Einhorn, "How China Controls the Internet: Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong explains, and he says U.S. companies need to take a stand against Beijing," BusinessWeek, January 13, 2006.
- Tom Zeller Jr., "China, Still Winning Against the Web," New York Times, January 15, 2006.
- Quentin Sommerville, "China 2026: What will life be like?" BBC, May 22, 2006: "China's economy has been growing at a rate of about 10% a year for at least the past decade, a growth rate that has put it well on track to becoming the world's richest economy."
- Quentin Sommerville, "What might hold back China?" BBC, May 22, 2006.
- "China set to be largest economy," BBC, May 22, 2006.
- Quentin Sommerville, "China's lofty ambitions," BBC, May 24, 2006.
- "China trade surplus at new high," BBC, September 12, 2006.
- Robert Sutter, "Why a rising China can't dominate Asia," Asia Times, September 15, 2006.
- "China's trade surplus hits record," BBC, October 12, 2006.
- "China economy applies the brakes," BBC, October 19, 2006: "China's soaring economic growth rate slowed slightly to 10.4% in the three months to September, as government attempts to cool the boom took effect."
- Victor N. Corpus, "America's Acupuncture Points Part I: Striking the US where it hurts," Asia Times, October 19, 2006.
- Victor N. Corpus, "America's Acupuncture Points Part II: The assassin's mace," Asia Times, October 20, 2006.
- John Ng, "China's falling figures," Asia Times, October 20, 2006.
- Verne Kopytoff, "Yahoo settles with jailed Chinese journalists," San Francisco Chronicle, November 14, 2007.
- Jim Pickard in London and Richard McGregor, "Beijing seeks PR advisers on Tibet", Financial Times, April 3, 2008.
- Frank Davies, "Yahoo tries to buff up human rights image: $1 Million Gift Goes to New Fellowship," Mercury News, April 4, 2008.
- Jim Wilson, Tibet Backers Show China Value of P.R.", New York Times, April 14, 2008.
- Frank Davies, "Senators grill tech companies on aiding Chinese censorship," San Jose Mercury News (California), May 21, 2008.
- Michael Barker, "Waging Democracy On China: Human Rights and an Endowment for Democracy", Swans, July 28, 2008.
- John M. Glionna, "China's 'action plan' on human rights meets with skepticism: Beijing's announcement comes three months before a U.N. council is to review the status of human rights programs in the communist nation. Critics call it a public relations ploy," Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2008.