12 March 2012

The Chinese Government has just committed itself to using ‘culture’ and ‘public diplomacy’ as a driver to increase global understanding about China. This reflects concern that China must do better in promoting its culture at home and abroad; recognition of the part that the creative industries will play in boosting domestic demand; determination that ‘made in China’ be replaced by ‘created in China’.

To demonstrate that commitment, Vice-President Xi Jinping recently attended the signing of a major creative industry deal between Shanghai Media Group and the famous USA Dreamworks Group. Vice-President Xi’s attendance was a sign of the grasp of the importance of the creative industries at the highest level.

The implications for Britain of these culture industry initiatives by China

The British Government wants many more business links between the UK and Chinese creative industries. The UK is recognised as being one of the most advanced creative industry centres in the world and Chinese companies know this. The UK has been a global leader in cultural industries and public diplomacy since the foundation of the British Council and the BBC in the 1930s. Both countries’ governments are determined to increase cooperation.

The forum will be opened by Minister Zhao Qizheng, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPPCC and spokesperson of the CPPCC. Until recently head of the State Council’s Information Office, he is acknowledged as the pioneer of China’s public diplomacy. (See China Daily 3-3-2012.)

The forum on April 25 at the House of Lords will draw UK attention to the recent policy changes in China, extrapolate on the implications for Britain and provide a valuable occasion for our creative businesses to identify opportunities, and for ministers and parliamentarians to understand the potential of China partnerships.

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