By: Jianli Yang – July 30, 2021

The Communist Party of China (the CCP) celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this month. Founded in July 1921, the party has transformed itself from one based on communist revolutionary ideas to one that is driven by state capitalism. The party largely draws its legitimacy from the economic success of China in the last two decades, but given the rising income inequality, aging population, structural slowdown, and environmental issues, the party is compelled to build a positive narrative that constantly reinforces a positive image for China and makes a case for the CCP’s continued rule in China. While the CCP’s narrative-building exercises may be lauded domestically, international audiences have been skeptical about Beijing’s global ambitions.

At a juncture when China is already being criticized for numerous reasons—be it the gross human rights violations in Xinjiang, not raising an early and timely alarm about the COVID-19 pandemic, crushing liberty and the rule of law in Hong Kong, or for mistreating African nationals in Guangzhou—China is yet to drastically swing global public opinions in its favor. In addition to this, the border issues with India, the hostage diplomacy with Canada, and the diplomatic bickering with the United States and Australia all suggest mounting negative views against China globally.

Amidst this, China is trying to propagate a positive image for itself where the International Department (ID) of the CCP is playing a crucial role. The ID maintains connections with about 400 political parties in over 140 countries. In November 2017, the ID hosted a four-day meeting between the CCP and representatives from…[Continue Reading]