A Great Panda in Chengdu. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

China’s foreign diplomacy often seems to rest on the ironclad premise that the world can never have enough of the country’s soft and cuddly pandas. For Sichuan, which the Giant Panda calls home, the fuzzy creature is at the heart of its latest media diplomacy push — in Portuguese.

The Sichuan International Communication Center (四川国际传播中心), or SICC, an office directly under the provincial propaganda office of Sichuan, announced the launch yesterday of a branch center in São Paulo in cooperation with the popular mobile short video sharing app Kuaishou (快手). The center’s signature outreach brand will be called “PandaNotícias.”

“Hey everyone in Brazil,” read the message from the center, “a ‘panda’ has arrived in São Paulo!” According to a promotional poster for PandaNotícias and the new SICC branch, the center’s nickname will be: “Brazil Panda Living Room” (巴西熊猫客厅). “Olá Mundo!” it said — “Hello, World!”

According to a report from Sichuan Online, the province’s government portal site, the new center aims to “create a bridgehead to boost humanistic exchanges and economic and trade cooperation between Sichuan and Brazil.” The report noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between China and Brazil and that Brazil recently opened its third diplomatic mission in China — the Consulate General of Brazil in Chengdu.

The Sichuan International Communication Center (SICC), which was included in the province’s 14th Five-Year Development Plan in February 2021, is part of a nationwide push by China’s CCP leadership since around 2018-2019 to intensify and diversify the work of external propaganda by drawing on the resources of provincial media groups.

For more on ICCs, refer to our previous posts on the trend:

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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