With the continuous evolution of the international pattern of equalization, the diversification of world development patterns has become a reality. The international culture known as the “fourth dimension” in contemporary international relations is the most fluid and therefore one of the most profound factors of world change. Diplomatic methods are gradually diversifying and are always “online”. China is working hard to open up new areas of public diplomacy.
1. Public diplomacy stems from cultural diplomacy
The introduction of culture into national diplomatic strategy has been around since ancient times. Cultural diplomacy is a politicized product of the development of state relations to a certain stage. Culture is contained in the national interests of sovereign states, and the power of knowledge and the knowledge of power are intertwined, forming the theory of cultural interests. Knowledge changes power, and culture changes destiny, which is abundantly and vividly reflected in current international relations.
Cultural diplomacy is defined as: official diplomatic activities carried out by sovereign states in a peaceful manner with cultural communication as the content and cultural exchange and communication as the main means in order to safeguard their own interests and realize their foreign strategic goals. Cultural diplomacy has softness, also known as “flexible diplomacy”, which is easier to be accepted by foreign governments than other forms of diplomacy. Carrying out various forms of cultural exchanges has become an important path in the field of diplomatic activities.
Public diplomacy is a new type of diplomacy in national diplomacy, originating from cultural diplomacy. Public diplomacy goes beyond the scope of traditional diplomacy, and uses online media (various cultural exchange projects, international broadcasting, Internet, and smartphones) as a propaganda platform. The purpose of carrying out explanation and persuasion work is to achieve international consensus and promote the realization of relevant national strategic goals. The core of public diplomacy is to communicate information and opinions through the media and the public between countries, and to achieve national interests by influencing foreign publics.
Cultural diplomacy is an important connotation of public diplomacy, but it is not the same. Cultural diplomacy is a form of direct diplomacy, which belongs to open diplomacy. The main body of cultural diplomacy is the governments of bilateral or multilateral sovereign countries, and the governments organize cultural exchange groups to visit or exchange visits. Cultural diplomacy has distinct national characteristics due to different countries and civilizations. As a cultural messenger sent by the state, it displays the national cultural image, regional cultural characteristics and friendship between the people. The value concept and image of integrity of a sovereign state are very important in public diplomacy, because it is directly related to whether a consensus can be reached between states: the generation of trust between states is a variable in the interaction between states. Whether countries are confronted or cooperative, trust building is a necessary condition.
There are various forms of public diplomacy, with pertinence and flexibility. There are ubiquitous occasions for public diplomacy, and its scope is wider than cultural diplomacy. Public diplomacy mainly includes the exchange of various educational and cultural projects, providing various kinds of information to the foreign public, conducting academic exchange activities, holding various exhibitions, organizing various visits and observations, promoting domestic famous brands and products, and convening various non-governmental associations. Meetings, cultural and sports competitions, and exchange of special envoys for private conversations and private visits. It is not difficult to see that cultural diplomacy is an important connotation of public diplomacy.
2. Public diplomacy respects multiculturalism
Cultural space is the field of human creation and development. With the development and evolution of the economy and society, the more human beings progress, the more diverse they view the world, and the more diverse cultural connotations and cultural forms are created. Cultures and civilizations are both diverse and multidimensional. Diversity refers to different forms of civilization in the structure of world civilization; multidimensionality refers to the existence of different cultural traditions of different groups in the same civilization. Multiculturalism and civilization are a relationship that can coexist, learn from each other and integrate with each other. The flow and fusion of cultural concepts among different civilization regions is the normal state of human society development. There is a mutually beneficial relationship between civilizations. The progress of world culture not only has its own internal driving force, but also has the thrust of integration with other civilizations.
The globalization of culture is a context into which sovereign states have to enter. The interdependence and interaction of politics, economy, society and culture is an objective trend that is independent of human will. Through the cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy of nation-states in the context of globalization, we can clearly see the irreplaceability of the main values of the state, and see the common prosperity and common loss between countries, which in turn promotes the objectivity of international consensus and universal principles.
Cultural differences are not only the foundation and driving force for the development of human civilization and society, but also the characteristics of human civilization. Cultural differences create objective obstacles to national consensus, but similarities are often reflected in different viewpoints. Because every nation-state can stand among the nations of the world, it must share and share some of its values, otherwise it will not be able to get along. Cultural differences are not a black-and-white, right-or-wrong “zero-sum game”. Overemphasizing cultural differences can cause disharmony in bilateral relations and even lead to conflict. Absolute and simple thinking cannot correctly understand world culture, insisting on elevating one’s own civilization to the level of “universal standards” and forcing other civilized regions to abide by it; simply dividing sovereign states into two categories, democratic and undemocratic, brings to the world no doubt. There is great confusion and confusion.
The cognitive ability and religious belief system of a nation-state at the level of cultural outlook strongly influence its understanding, the angle and dimension of viewing international issues, and determine its stance and method of choosing foreign policy. Therefore, it is necessary to regard the political relationship between nation-states as the cultural relationship between different political societies. More and more countries are recognizing the reality of cultural diversity in globalization. Cultural diversity is full of vigor and vitality, and the diplomatic methods of major countries in the world are gradually diversifying. There will be differences in values between any country, and there will be common values at the same time. Respecting multiculturalism, on the basis of maintaining cultural harmony and diversity, and overcoming the negative impact of cultural differences through communication and dialogue with the people are an important prerequisite for developing cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy. The Olympic Games and World Expo hosted by China are successful examples of China’s public diplomacy respecting multiculturalism.
3. Public diplomacy reflects cultural influence
Public diplomacy is a comprehensive spillover phenomenon of domestic political, economic, social and cultural influence of a sovereign state, which is mainly realized through the international communication of education and culture. As a “later entrant” in the diplomatic field, public diplomacy is highly valued by the world’s major powers. The Internet is the main means of cultural dissemination in the information age—crossing national borders, spanning time and space, and expanding values to the greatest extent possible. Since modern times, the dissemination of information in the world has shown a situation in which the west is strong and the east is weak, and the north is strong and the south is weak. A strong culture has always been a powerful economic engine that generates profits, drives change, and provides employment in developed countries. Based on cultural diplomacy, major powers have increased media propaganda and capital investment, and opened up public diplomacy as a broader field of foreign exchange than cultural diplomacy, as an important way to expand national soft power and build a favorable political and security environment an effective way to shape and restore the national image.
Practice has proved that the United States with a multicultural background is currently the most successful country in the world to carry out public diplomacy. American public diplomacy began after the First World War and began to focus exclusively on non-traditional security aspects of foreign affairs. During the Cold War, the U.S. government has been committed to cultural diplomacy and opened up a “new cultural frontier”: actively infiltrating American values into the socialist camp through the media; through the “Marshall Plan”, it helped Western European countries to carry out post-war construction, and promoted American life to allies and donor countries. methods, selling American technology and popular culture; helping countries in transition to realize private ownership of the state-owned economy and revising teaching materials; spreading Christianity to socialist countries such as the former Soviet Union; ; After the 9.11 incident, public diplomacy gradually became an important strategic part of American diplomacy.
Since March 2002, the United States has focused its diplomacy on shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East. At the same time, it has intensified its cultural diplomacy with Islamic countries in the Middle East. It has opened Arabic broadcasts for the Middle East, broadcasting American blockbusters and traditional Arabic entertainment. Programs, broadcast 24 hours a day, covering all media. Vigorously spread American values to Middle East countries, show the American way of life, and promote American-style democracy. The U.S. government invested $5 million to help 10,000 elementary schools in the Middle East build libraries of books in Arabic. This cultural project, known as the “Middle East Project”, focuses on reducing misunderstandings and suspicions among countries with different religious beliefs and establishing a good national image.
Unlike France, Italy and other ancient European countries that built their country with culture, the United States built its country with values, and its ideology is strongly reflected in foreign propaganda and various cultural products, showing the world that the United States is good at connecting problems in different fields at home and abroad. processing ability. US President Barack Obama attaches great importance to the powerful propaganda effect of new media such as the Internet in diplomacy, and proposes a new concept of diplomatic transformation. The U.S. government took the lead in setting an example, using online media, mobile phones and other new media as platforms to implement “E-Diplomacy”: in the information age, using modern communication tools such as the Internet and mobile phones, relying on the government and the public to publicize foreign policy, communication Public opinion information and conduct diplomatic activities in order to achieve national strategic goals.
The U.S. State Department has set up the Office of Cyber Diplomacy, which takes “enhancing free links” as a basic diplomatic goal, and encourages exchanges and interactions between U.S. citizens and the international community via the Internet to achieve “all-people cyber diplomacy.” The Internet objectively promotes an information space beyond the limits of national borders, which both reflects and directly affects objective reality. Links such as social networking site Facebook, video site YouTube, micro-blogging site Twitter, photo sharing site Flickr, map search Google Map and other links developed on the website of the US State Department are the main tools for the public to carry out public diplomacy and open up new channels for US diplomacy. The recent social unrest in some countries in the Middle East and North Africa is closely related to the use of the Internet for political incitement by Western countries.
The public diplomacy of the United States has three essential attributes: universality, nationality and epoch. The theory and practice of public diplomacy fully embodies the three characteristics in one, that is, Americanness. The United States summarizes public diplomacy as: government-led, educational and cultural exchanges between different countries, international dissemination of information as the main content, involving various activities of governments and non-governmental organizations between different countries. The purpose is to influence public opinion abroad, thereby influencing the formulation and implementation of its foreign policy, and promoting the realization of national interests. Public diplomacy has a broad popular base in the United States. The American media and the public are keen to publicize their country and values, and American companies, education and civil society actively provide various funding.
The struggle for belief is another manifestation of the struggle for power and interests. For a long time, the United States has exported values, democratic systems and free market economic systems to the outside world, and some countries have become increasingly “Americanized” in terms of ideology and way of life. On the one hand, nation-states all over the world reflect American values and moral standards to varying degrees; on the other hand, the globalization of American values has led to global cultural localization, localization, and even direct interaction between different cultural factors. collision.
4. Public diplomacy to publicize the new concept of civilization
Cultural diversity, economic globalization, and world multi-polarization are listed as the three major trends in today’s world. Following the development law of culture → country (nation) → international politics → globalization, the diversity of civilizations and economic growth together promote the continuous development of the world. The emergence of a large number of global subcultural groups has become a basic manifestation of the process of cultural pluralism. In order to achieve the goal of public diplomacy and win the trust of foreign people, it is necessary to seek the common feelings and values of human beings in different cultures. As a multi-ethnic country, China has always advocated respecting diverse civilizations and promoting the multi-polar development of the world, and then proposed a new concept of civilization that respects world diversity and cultural diversity.
In September 2005, President Hu Jintao put forward the concept of building a “harmonious world” at the summit meeting on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Since then, “persistently promoting the building of a harmonious world” has been identified as the main goal of China’s foreign affairs in the new era. Harmony is the new connotation of Chinese cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy. Harmony is the unity of cultural diversity and the order formed on the basis of differences. The fusion of cultures is not the substitution of one culture for another, but the exchange and communication in an equal dialogue. Through exchanges, seek common ideas from each culture or civilization, carry forward the excellent elements, and develop them into common ideals and common values of human society.
Cultural issues in the era of globalization, along with political, economic and security issues, have become the four pillars for the construction of national strength. Therefore, cultural issues always belong to the strategic proposition of the country. The progress of culture is not only the inevitable result of natural and human social activities, but also the result that culture gradually forms an industry after the modern information revolution, interacts with economic industries, and spreads and operates through the market mechanism. A fast-developing society cannot produce a closed spiritual culture, and an economically strong country cannot be a culturally weak country. To carry out public diplomacy, it is necessary to follow its inherent objective laws and combine the country’s internal affairs and diplomatic strategies. The sustainable development of culture contains and determines the orientation of the future values of the nation-state.
The core values in the national culture have always been closely related to the domestic political and economic situation and foreign policy of the sovereign country. China’s development is inseparable from a peaceful and stable international environment. Adhering to a mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening up and adhering to the path of peaceful development is an inevitable choice for China’s diplomacy. As China’s national strength has grown stronger, its national status has been significantly improved, and China has played an increasingly important role in international affairs, and the number of people learning Chinese around the world has continued to increase. The Confucius Institutes, sponsored by overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese, aim to spread Chinese civilization all over the world. Through Chinese education, they actively seek the world’s understanding of Chinese culture and the recognition of the peaceful development path of the Chinese nation.
Diversification of culture is the inner logic of world development. Under the background of globalization and regionalization, each culture has its own unique way of combining modernization and tradition, and has its own advantages. However, the characteristics of world political pluralism and fragmentation are becoming more and more obvious. The world culture in the context of globalization has become a phenomenon of re-occupation, staggered generation, and complex blending and mixing in the growing demand for international cultural exchanges. Successful public diplomacy requires an enabling international environment. The development of public diplomacy depends on actual needs, and first of all, the needs of national development should be considered. Since public diplomacy needs to interact with foreign publics, it must not only represent the core values of the country, but also need to conform to the value orientation of the other public, in order to finally reach mutual understanding and consensus between countries. Therefore, public diplomacy pays special attention to the pursuit of consensus at the level of recognition in bilateral and multilateral interaction, and especially to achieve consensus of value at the level of strategy and tactics.
In the hearts of foreign people, the image of the Chinese is twofold. At present, there is still a big difference between Chinese people’s own view of China and foreigners’ view of China; Chinese people’s view of the world and foreigners’ view of the world are also very different. Therefore, how to safeguard national interests, how to enhance national strength, how to adapt to the aspirations of most countries (especially the interests of the vast number of developing countries), and how to make greater contributions to the sustainable development of the international community are the focus of China’s diplomacy. Important content of China’s public diplomacy.