China’s public diplomacy today centers on a phrase introduced by Xi Jinping at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference back on August 19, 2013. That phrase, “telling China’s story well” (讲好中国故事), expresses the ruling Party’s hope that it can better influence global public opinion on China, countering critical views and policies and bolstering its “comprehensive national power.”
Though superficially softer in tone, and perhaps more subtle in approach, than the old notion the “external propaganda” (外宣), “telling China’s story well” is part of the same general playbook updated for the 21st centuy. As Xi said in his 2013 speech: “[We] must meticulously and properly conduct external propaganda, innovating external propaganda methods, working hard to create new concepts, new categories and new expressions that integrate the Chinese and the foreign, telling China’s story well, communicating China’s voice well.”
And now, you too can be part of this story.
Earlier this week, on February 22, “Chongqing Releases” (重庆发布), an official channel operated across a number of platforms by the Information Office of the municipal government in Chongqing, put out a call for conscientious English-proficient candidates to help operate its “iChongqing” overseas communication platform, including management of related accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The ad itself provides a fascinating inside look at how regional and local governments across China are also rising to the challenge of “telling China’s story well,” scrambling to establish their own channels of external communication and parroting the external propaganda language of the leadership.
The “iChongqing” platform looking to expand its overseas staff is operated by the Chongqing Daily (重庆日报), the official CCP mouthpiece for the Chongqing municipality. The platform’s website is mostly dedicated to highlighting the cultural richness of Chongqing and its merits as a business destination. But the “news” section of the site also demonstrates how official positions and themes from Chinese-language propaganda — such as China’s claimed victories in fighting poverty, and self-praise about the 14th Five-Year Plan — translate awkwardly into English-language news stories.
Positions being hired for by “iChongqing” include two deputy editors, two foreign reporters, and a foreign social media manager. A translation of the first section of the notice follows.
Hiring Globally! Looking for a You Who Can Use English to Tell China’s Story Well
A High Starting Position / Great Benefits / Good Room for Advancement
Pioneering, communicative and creative – If you want to tell the story of Chongqing, don’t miss [this opportunity].
The Chongqing International Communication Center（Chongqing City International Cultural Exchange Center） is a professional overseas media organization operated by the Chongqing Daily Newspaper Group, responsible for building and operating the “iChongqing” overseas communication platform matrix to tell Chongqing’s story well to overseas users, and to communicate China’s voice, expanding the influence of Chongqing overseas.
Since the official website of “iChongqing” was launched in August 2018, we have operated official “iChongqing” accounts on overseas mainstream social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Linkedin, developing a “1+N” overseas media matrix of online communication, creating the “Eight Directions SmartHub” (智汇八方) online news service platform. In order to strengthen and enlarge the “iChongqing” overseas communication platform, we are now hiring top talent overseas. The signup deadline is February 28, 2021.