In the spirit of considering how a Petraeus-style saga might go in China, and perhaps in highlighting how different the two systems really are, a satirical Twitter account has posted several messages re-imagining the scandal as it might go down in Beijing. The satirical account, @RelevantOrgans, caricatures of the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, although in this case it’s imagining how the American media might cover a Petreaus scandal in China (though the places and names are American, the story itself is all Chinese).
BEIJING — China’s government touted 10 years of reform for its cultural sector on Sunday, saying it had privatized thousands of publishers, newspapers and cultural groups while promoting industries that can spread soft power abroad — all firmly under party control.
In what experts describe as an unusual form of public diplomacy, U.S. colleges have created State-Department-funded “American Cultural Centers” in partnership with Chinese host universities. “Their primary purpose is to expose Chinese audiences to the depth and breadth of U.S. culture,” said Erik W. Black, an assistant cultural affairs officer at the American embassy in Beijing, which administers the grants. Colleges that have received them have used the funding to create resource centers or reading rooms, host visiting faculty lectures on American cultural topics, and sponsor arts programming. While the State Department has long run stand-alone “American Centers” in foreign countries, this kind of close collaboration with universities is a new phenomenon, said Nicholas Cull, a professor of public diplomacy at the University of Southern California and author of the new book, The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency: American Public Diplomacy, 1989-2001. “It shows the concerns of the State Department with the asymmetry of the Sino-American public diplomacy relationship,” said Cull. “The Chinese have a lot of things going on over here, and have been able to really limit what the United States is able to do in China.” Among the things that China has going on over here are the controversial Confucius Institutes -- Chinese government-funded centers housed at universities in the U.S. and elsewhere. The institutes have vastly expanded the resources available for Chinese culture and language study, but critics have questioned the wisdom of housing them within universities. The Confucius Institutes have, after all, been described by a top Chinese government official as "an important part of China’s overseas propaganda setup." The centers may not be ideological, but critics say they promote a benign, uncritical view of China and shift the focus away from controversial government policies.
Over the past 30 years, this mile or so section of Olive between I-170 and North and South Road has gone from one Chinese market to dozens of Asian businesses, including restaurants, markets, a medical clinic and insurance offices. They are run by immigrants from China, Thailand, Korea, Nepal, Vietnam and Indonesia, among other countries.
Now these local businesses are part of a major step towards marketing the Olive strip as the epicenter of the region's Asian community as well as burnishing the image of Asian culture.
On Saturday, the first Asian Heritage Festival will be held in the parking lot of a shopping center on Olive, at McKnight Road. It represents the first fundraiser for the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, formed early last year.