China wants PR help from West

Marketplace Staff Apr 8, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: International crisis is nothing new for China. But asking Madison Avenue for help is a little unusual. Chinese officials are asking major public relations firms for ideas on how to spin their way out of the Tibet crisis. Bill Marcus reports from Shanghai.


Bill Marcus: PR Experts say the new international image China wants will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Michael Golden: It’s massive, massive damage control and crisis type of PR.

That’s Shanghai PR man Michael Golden.

Golden: It’s not a black-and-white situation where, you know I think China is the bad guy and Tibet’s the good guy. But China’s let the world, basically, paint that picture.

Western PR experts say China never much cared what foreign audiences thought. China is seeking advice from Western communications experts hoping they will help shape its international image. International Relations Professor Sun Zhe:

Sun Zhe: I think the key to emphasize is how to communicate with Western media, because certainly The New York Times, you see, CNN, we have some problem in communicating with this media.

Observers say the Olympic protests are embarrassing the Chinese people, and the government feels pressure to defend itself. China has not yet announced which PR firm will get the contract.

In Shanghai, I’m Bill Marcus for Marketplace.

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