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Presentation by Chinese Ambassador to Liberia H.E. Ren Yisheng at the Aspiring Diplomats Intellect Enrichment Forum on International State Branding and Soft Power Diplomacy
2023-01-10 01:02

(6 January 2023)

Ambassador Ali Sylla, Head of Mission, Embassy of Liberia in Qatar,

Mr. Flomo Mao Maiwo, Founder and Coordinator of Diplomatic Development Initiative(DipDev Init.),

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. At the outset, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. I want to thank the Diplomatic Development Initiative for inviting me back and share with you some views and practices on the issue of "International State Branding and Soft Power Diplomacy". I have four points to make, namely international state branding, soft power diplomacy, case study on China’s public diplomacy, and some reflections on Liberia’s state branding and soft power diplomacy.

First, on international state branding

The shaping and dissemination of the international state image is an important part of the national development strategy. A good national image is the core component of the country's soft power and the driving force to enhance the country's international competitiveness. A good international state image means higher credibility, greater acceptability and wider space for international cooperation and development.

The international image of a country usually includes: investment environment, cultural tradition, citizen cultivation, product quality, etc. For a State, the establishment and improvement of its international image generally need to follow the following steps:

One, positioning of national image

Image positioning is the first step in shaping a country's image. It mainly addresses two issues: the vision of national development and the mental outlook of the country in which it will appear on the global or regional stage.

Two, improve the country's basic condition and objective outlook

International state image is formed on the basis of its own inherent "shape and appearance". The premise and basis for shaping a good international state image is to improve the basic conditions and objective appearance of the country, including improving the level of economic development, improving people's social well-being, protecting the ecological environment, etc.

Three, make multi-dimensional collaborative shaping

A. International state image logos: they should reflect the core values of the country through the most concise words, patterns and core slogans. (e.g. national flags, national anthems, national emblems)

B. Introduction to national conditions: the way to introduce a country’s national conditions to overseas people directly reflects the international image of the country. The national situation introduction published on the official website should include all kinds of basic information, increase the theme reflecting the contemporary society and culture of the country, plan more topics of interest to foreign audiences, and pay attention to the way of information expression in line with international norms.

C. Government image: The government image is an important part of the state image, especially in the process of major public crises and large-scale international activities, the performance and actions of the government directly affect people's views on the government. State leaders, especially the heads of state (e.g. President Mandela and the first female president of Africa Madame Sirleaf), government spokesmen and staff of embassies and consulates abroad are also important spokesmen of the state image.

D. Enterprises image: The image of a country's important enterprises and their products will also affect the country's national image, which specifically includes the efficiency, credibility, commitment, service, product quality, employee image, professional ethics, social responsibility and public opinion of the enterprise.

E. City image: A city is one of the important components of a country. It is also an important means to build a state image by building a good reputation for the city image. The city image includes the city appearance and investment environment, beautifying the city appearance to attract more international tourists, optimizing the investment environment to attract more international investors. At the same time, through their oral communication, the city will be helped to enhance its international popularity, so as to further improve its national image.

F. Historical and cultural image: historical and cultural heritage is also one of the basic elements and main symbols of the national image. It’s important to recognize the value of historical heritages(e.g. the Great Wall of China, the Centennial Pavilion of Liberia), and through protection and inheritance, transform the rich historical and cultural heritage resources into state influence and soft power.

G. Population’s cultivation: high-quality citizens are a powerful driving force for national development, and the quality of a country's image fundamentally depends on its population’s cultivation.

Second, on soft power diplomacy