Zoom webinar | Denise Ho, Karrie Koesel, Maria Repnikova
The July 2021 centennial of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be an important milestone in China, accompanied by media fanfare and celebration. As the Party promotes the story of its successes and accomplishments to its people and the world, what does it choose to minimize or ignore? Through the lenses of museums, traditional and new media, and political education in schools, we examined how China projects its image in a rapidly shifting global landscape.
On June 24, 2021, the National Committee hosted a virtual discussion with Denise Ho, Karrie Koesel, and Maria Repnikova as they explored how the Chinese Communist Party shapes and projects its identity to its own people and beyond.
Below are five key takeaways from the presentation:
Denise Ho: The idea of “two hundred years,” a common theme in CCP museums and exhibitions, refers to the centenary of the CCP’s founding (2021) and the centenary of PRC’s establishment (2049). These anniversaries reflect the CCP’s two central messages that the Party is forward looking and the Party is inseparable from the nation and the Chinese people.
Maria Repnikova: The CCP continues to place great importance on the role of external actors, such as external media and foreign officials, in legitimizing the Party’s rule, yet the medium of external legitimization has evolved, and participants diversified over time.
Karrie Koesel: Education in China is deeply controlled by the party-state and therefore an essential tool for the state to transmit its political knowledge, share its worldview, and fine-tune its message. Political education in China has become more sophisticated and nuanced over the years, allowing opportunities for self-correction and reflection.
Karrie Koesel: The narrative of democracy has been present in Chinese political education since the 1950s, but in the form of “socialist democracy,” presented as an effective alternative to the “capitalist democracy” of the western world that has been portrayed as extreme, corrupt, and fostering inequality.
Maria Repnikova: We can expect a linear development of CCP’s media narrative into the future, accompanied by more aggressive moves by the Party to buy out local media outlets across the world. It will be interesting to observe whether China’s strategy of providing communication infrastructure along with its messaging will help promote its image as a powerful global leader.