Spokes­men ex­am­ine role in China’s im­age

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - ByWANG YING in Shang­hai wang_y­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Agroup of lead­ing govern­ment spokes­men and spokes­women ex­changed their views on how to tell China’s story in a pos­i­tive way to the world, dur­ing the na­tion’s first fo­rum or­ga­nized for pro­fes­sion­als in of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion roles on Satur­day.

More than 80 spokes­men and spokes­women, ex­perts, schol­ars and heads of me­dia gath­ered in Shang­hai to share their opin­ions on news pub­lish­ing. Top­ics in­cluded new me­dia, guid­ing public opin­ion­when­hot is­sues arise and cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive na­tional im­age as Chi­nese com­pa­nies ex­pand glob­ally.

China’s spokesman sys­tem can be traced to the early 1980s. After more than three decades of devel­op­ment, it has be­come a wit­ness, par­tic­i­pant, fa­cil­i­ta­tor and con­trib­u­tor in China’s re­form, open­ing-up and mod­ern­iza­tion, ac­cord­ing to Jiang Jian­guo, min­is­ter of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice.

The news pub­lish­ing in­dus­try is based on China’s re­forms, open­ing-up and mod­ern­iza­tion, Jiang said, so the in­dus­try has dis­tinc­tive Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. He also said that a com­pe­tent spokesman or spokeswoman should be con­fi­dent, good at es­tab­lish­ing top­ics, have a good sense of tim­ing and be ca­pa­ble of us­ing all me­dia.

Spokesper­sons, along with schol­ars from dif­fer­ent sec­tors, shared their views about howanof­fi­cial­s­peak­er­should deal with hot is­sues that arise from time to time in so­ci­ety.

Yang Yu­jun, spokesman for the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense, likened a sen­si­tive topic to a time bomb, say­ing that if you don’t defuse it the bomb will go off.

At­ten­dees agreed that an ef­fec­tive spokesper­son should be a good sto­ry­teller, and a con­fi­dent and re­spon­si­ble co­or­di­na­tor.

ZhaoChenxin, spokesman for the Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, said past ex­pe­ri­ence shows that peo­ple-cen­tered sto­ries with strong, rel­e­vant

Mi­nor mis­takes in a speech are for­giv­able, but be­ing lost for words when an­swer­ing ques­tions, or cre­at­ing a se­vere public opin­ion cri­sis are not.”

spokesman for the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity

Li Zhong, con­tent will have bet­ter ef­fect and make a big­ger im­pact on the public than those that don’t.

Li Zhong, who speaks for the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity, also noted the im­por­tance of es­tab­lish­ing a mis­take-tol­er­ant sys­tem.

“Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping noted that as long as the lead­ers are do­ing their jobs proac­tively, mi­nor mis­takes in a speech are for­giv­able, but be­ing lost for words when an­swer­ing ques­tions, or cre­at­ing a se­vere public opin­ion cri­sis are not,” Li said.

Ac­cord­ing to Hu Kai­hong, deputy di­rec­tor of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice’s Press Bureau, govern­ment lead­ers them­selves are in­creas­ingly go­ing in front of the public to make state­ments.

The ma­jor rea­son be­hind some spokesper­sons be­ing silent and avoid­ing re­porters is that they have few op­por­tu­ni­ties to take part in draft­ing im­por­tant poli­cies or are not nec­es­sar­ily fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion, Li said.

Guo Weimin, spokesper­son and vice-min­is­ter of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice, said spokesper­sons at dif­fer­ent lev­els will­have­more train­ing in the fu­ture to in­crease their ca­pa­bil­ity of mak­ing a de­cent speech and be­com­ing a strong sto­ry­teller.

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