based on the guideline and the previous of the dissertation
based on each part of dissertation I uploaded and write and research the rest sections of the whole dissertation Methodology — 3pages Analysis&Discussion 11-12pages CONCLUSION 3-4PAGES
REFERENCES 10 APA
LOGICAL and illustrate the 3-4 key arguments based on literature and your further research and coherent critical analysis
and the methodology part logical with the literature review part and the following sections and tell the importance of why you choosing this method and more analysis in detail
master level final graduation dissertation please work harder and avoid the spelling and writing mistakes
in the formation that the guidelin
THE EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
Master of Social Sciences in Global and Hong Kong Studies
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Master of Social Sciences in Global and Hong Kong Studies
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First Lady Public Diplomacy and the Development of China’s of China’s National Image: A Case Study of Peng Liyuan
Name of Institution
Name of Student
Table of Contents
Contextual/Conceptual Introduction 2
Research Question 4
Research Hypothesis, Objectives and Questions 4
Significance of the Study 8
Research Methodology 9
Scope and Limitation 11
Ethical Issue(s) 11
Literature Review 12
First Lady’s Impact on National Public Image 12
First Lady’s Impact on Public Diplomacy 16
Peng’s Characteristics, Motivations and Strengths 20
Chinese Context and Comparison with Other Countries 23
The reformation of China and its recent national strategy of opening up to the world has the country in a whirl wheel of knowledge and practices to learn from even as they infuse the world with their rich culture. In political and economical circles, diplomacy is the language of contemporary regimes and like in the US where First Lady Diplomacy is well studied and practiced among scholars in political science and in national politics, China can finally be studied in those lines. This is thanks to the ascent of Xi Jinping as the ruler of People’s Republic of China together with his wife Peng liyuan. From then on, and for the maiden time in academic literature can the First Lady’s role in public diplomacy be studied in the case of China. According to research evidence in international politics, the role of the First Lady in bringing about soft power, persuading upon critical social matters and diplomacy matters has been an issue of great debate in educational circles (McCarthy, 2014; d’Hooghe, 2014). According to scholars in political science, since the birth of feminist movements it is like diplomacy and democracy is designed to take on both a masculine and feminine structure. This can be seen in the cases of top leaders and presidents of most western countries. d’Hooge (2014) informs that the United States in particular is a perfect example where feminist soft power has prevailed and made diplomacy more cordial and congenial. Despite the fact that there is sufficient research material on First Lady Public Diplomacy in the case of the United States, researchers concur that measurement of First Lady Public Diplomacy success rates or levels is still a problem. According to Hastedt and Eksterowicz (2006), this is because First Lady Public Diplomacy is spontaneous and covers on wide areas including institutional, public policy, social and personal areas. This can be justified by First Ladys’ efforts of directing policy formulation especially those touching on critical social issues like immigration (Erickson & Thomson, 2012).
With the above understanding, in the case of China, the writer’s contextual and conceptual idea for the dissertation is that; since China as a global power republic has only opened up to the world and after ascent of president Xi Jinping got its First Lady after a long time, it is only proper to take interest in studying the case of First Lady Peng Liyuan. Researchers have already hailed Peng Liyuan as a great representation of Chinese women curtsy, brilliance and respect. In handling and accompanying his husband the president on many official duties in different countries, she has been able to represent China as a First Lady and take role in many charitable, social and policy formulation activities. The thesis’ conceptual idea therefore is to present a comprehensive study the case of Peng Liyuan and her transformation of China’s National image through the office or position of First Lady.
The question of research is First Lady Public Diplomacy and the development of China’s National Image: A Case Study of Peng Liyuan.
Research Hypothesis, Objectives and Questions
Soft power of First Lady’s Public Diplomacy is not much new in the realm of politics but in the case of China, it is a new phenomenon. With that stated, First Lady Public Diplomacy in China can be studied in three different instances which best make the research objective questions section of this dissertation. These also serve as the hypotheses of the writer for the rest of the dissertation.
1. First and foremost it is important to study the impact of Chinese First lady madam Peng Liyuan on China’s national image since the change of the regime. The researcher hypotheses that China’s diplomatic endeavors were greatly boosted by the presence of Peng Liyuan after long years without an active First Lady. This is in follow up to Western culture where the US First L.ady position is of great use as far as displaying soft power and connecting directly with the society through philanthropic and social-oriented programs is concerned. According to Jeeyun Baik (2014), with China opening up its boarders to the world, the timely ascent of a new president and an active First Lady only add up to the amazing speed with which China is catching up with the world and becoming its second Global power. The first objective therefore is to directly study the connection between the First Lady of China, the country’s national image and its recent diplomatic relations successes. This can be better stated as the impact of Peng Liyuan on China’s national image and recent diplomatic successes.
2. A second hypothetical position that the researcher takes is that the friendly, charming, welcoming and fashionable appearance of Peng Liyuan is helping build up the image of a China that has never been seen, anticipated or thought of… a welcoming China, a land of opportunities. The central thesis of this dissertation as already stated is First Lady Public Diplomacy and the development of China’s national image: the case study of Peng Liyuan. Therefore at this hypothesis, the researcher intends to expound on the impact on China’s national image by the image of the First Lady Peng Liyuan. According to research, there is no structured means of measuring the success rate or level of the First Lady however; the literature also sufficiently states that the First Lady’s success can be scene from her efforts in different social, political or economic fields (Hastedt & Eksterowicz, 2006). In that case therefore, the second objective of the dissertation will be to study Peng Liyuan’s personality and how it has positively or otherwise impacted the Chinese national image. With the help of research it will be possible to discuss different circles documented by research based of First Lady Public Diplomacy in other countries and review how Peng Liyuan’s personality and actions fits in. The above notwithstanding, the point of consensus among researchers is that Peng Liyuan has done a beautiful job as far as opening up China is concerned (Hastedt & Eksterowicz, 2006; Baik, 2014; Erickson & Thomson, 2012).
3. Thirdly, since China’s culture has been criticized as explicitly patriarchal for decades and even centuries, it is imperative for this dissertation to genuinely review feminism in China and how First Lady Peng Liyuan has transformed China’s national image and exerted much needed soft power for the purposes of public and international diplomacy. Zhao (2015) informs that China’s patriarchal system or face has since been neutralized with the appearance of Peng Liyuan. In times of much humanitarianism, Zhao informs that the addition of Peng Liyuan as the First Lady of China has happened in very auspicious timing, when China needs to appeal to the rest off the world and ensure that businesses move into and stay in China. d’Hooge (2014) informed that diplomacy and democracy in the contemporary world has been designed to take on both masculine and feminine perspectives visible in Western leadership and political circles. Therefore, the researcher considers his third objective to be the need to study Peng Liyuan’s soft power and China’s soft power image. This is in consideration of the fact that Peng Liyuan is China’s First Lady in decades.
The above three hypotheses and objectives point out on how the researcher intends to mount a research on First Lady Public Diplomacy in China and the development of China’s National image: the case study of Peng Liyuan.
Objective 1: Study the connection between the current First Lady of China, the country’s current National image and the recent diplomatic relations successes.
1. How are the First lady and the National image connected?
2. How has the First Lady contributed to success of recent international relations?
3. What is the role of the first lady in/during international relations?
Objective 2: Study and research different success rates, levels and fields of a number of active Western First Ladies and leaders and compare that to the characteristics, style and pose of Peng Liyuan.
1. How does Peng Liyuan’s style of leadership, engagement and activity compare to other documented First Lady characters?
2. What may be her limitations and how has she succeeded in literature and as far as First Lady leadership is concerned?
3. What is the impact of her style of leadership on China’s national image as far as fashion, respect for women is concerned?
Objective 3: The importance of First Lady Peng Liyuan’s soft power on China’s opening up to the world mission.
1. What is soft power?
2. How can China benefit on the soft power field created by Peng Liyuan?
3. What are the potential social, political and economical impacts of soft power success to China?
Significance of the Study
First Lady Diplomacy is no longer a new word since in most western world, especially the United States; First Ladies have long been actively involved in politics and various social movements. Even though it still remains a controversial question of how to define a successful role of First Lady due to the lack of clear guidance in the Constitution and the fact that the First Ladies are not elected, people especially women could easily connect with the First Lady and therefore easily influenced by them. Historically, First ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy are well supported by people and substantially lifted the public image of America. At present-day, first ladies contribute to the architecture of U.S. foreign affairs by bolstering the president’s image and agenda, reinforcing vital alliances and relationships, and conferring prominence to human rights issues (Keith V. Erickson & Stephanie Thomson, 2012).
After the Reform and Opening Up, China has been increasingly focused on public diplomacy and China’s national Image and became aware that First Lady Diplomacy could infuse into Chinese diplomacy vibrancy and vitality. However, for a long time, the absence of a First Lady with unique style, charming appearance and enthusiasm in public diplomacy in China kept such ideals from realization. On November 2011, along with the inauguration of President Xi Jinping, Peng Liyuan, once a successful singer in China started her job as First Lady and has drawn great attention as to the role and function of China’s First Lady to the nation’s public image. However, the amount of researches about Chinese First Lady, especially about one of the most successful First Ladies in modern China, Peng Liyuan is relatively limited. Therefore, this paper will examine the role of First Lady diplomacy in China with respect to the changes China’s public image since Peng Liyuan before elaborating on about limitations and future developments of China’s public diplomacy strategy in terms of First Lady. Hopefully, through such research, there will be more attention paid on the women in diplomacy and better insights on the future development of First Lady Diplomacy.
This research mainly adopts the method of content analysis to study the “first lady” report of the national mainstream media. The study selected 10 influential media reports in the country. From March 12th to April 10th,and using “Peng Liyuan” as the key words, it received a total of 155 relevant reports. This study analyzes and studies the media distribution of the related reports, the number of reports in each stage, the theme and content of the report. This design as research indicates is he most effective methodology for making practical studies on key public figures like Peng Liyuan in this dissertation’s case (Macnamara, 2005). According to Macnamara, content analysis will allow the factual finding of information about the public figure under study and it is the best way to study a public figure without unethically infringing on his/her personal life/space.
Different types of data proposed for the current study can be divided into (a) relevant reports of the media distribution (b) reports of the various stages and (c) other media reports based on multiple themes. The first type of data will include data and information about how media has discussed the first lady in relation to her public image spread to the community. The second type of data that would be used in this study includes analysis of the media news about specific visits paid by her to the international countries. This data type can also be categorized into three period i.e. pre-visit expectations, during visit activities and post visit coverage. This activity data set would investigate how Peng accompanied the Chairman with his individual activities and what were her efforts in developing good public image through the focus on shape, dress collection, verbal expression and other activities. The third stage examination will be carried out on how the successfulness of Peng’s visit, as First Lady of China, is being portrayed in the mainstream media. The logic behind the above is informed by d’Hooge’s (2004) assertion that there is no standard means of measuring the success levels of the First Lady worldwide. However, there some logical channels that can be utilized in making the measurements. This informs why the researcher has selected the three stages of measurement which will provide the entire research with different information on Peng Liyuan and her efforts. This three dimensioned information acquisition and measurement strategy will be important in holistically assessing the importance of Peng Liyuan’s personality on China’s diplomatic and international image.
The research will primarily focus on content analysis as an effective data analysis method for the proposed qualitative investigation. Content analysis is defined as the effective research for analyzing the text data. It mainly used the attributes of language used in communication to find out how contextual meaning can be drawn from the under analysis piece of work. For the purpose of proposed research, text data would be in printed or electronic form to substantiate the claims made. Narrative responses of Peng Liyuan and print media response would be communicated effectively (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). By using this approach of analysis, themes would be used for categorizing the discussion on the media reports. Li (2015) contends that in the study of the Chinese First Lady content analysis would be the best method of data collection and analysis. This is because it has been used previously and effectively in the study of First Ladies like Michelle Obama and helps in the effective gathering of text and speech data and making contextual comparisons of the impact of such data in the real world. Content analysis in the case of this dissertation is therefore the best method of data analysis that will help in analyzing and understanding the impact of China’s First Lady on China’s national image.
Scope and Limitation
The scope of the research has been well discussed in the research methodology section; the main focus will be Peng Liyuan’s image and its impact on the Chinese national image in her capacity as the First Lady of China. The only limitation of the research foreseen by the researcher is the lack of precise means of measuring the success rates/levels of First Ladies. But as already stated, this limitation will be remedied by the use of previous research on First Lady diplomatic success in comparison to Peng’s record of diplomatic activities.
Since this study takes a highly placed person in the social ladder into sharp focus and as the center of research, ethical considerations arise whenever any of her personality traits are identified and tabled for discussion. That notwithstanding, this social issue is remedied by the fact that the researcher’s main focus is to find out positive aspects of Peng Liyuan that have positively impacted China’s national image. Therefore instances of tabling and discussing a controversial issue about Peng Liyuan are unlikely because as it is from preliminary media reports research on Peng Liyuan, her personality is professional and free of any controversial blemish that a public leader may have or attract.
First lady politics & Gender politics
Any investigation of the first lady and the first lady’s post must be as rooted in gender studies as it is in presidency research. Historically, the original first ladyship is of highly informal just as a symbolic status to show the respect from the citizens; also reflects the basic conceptions and preach of being a traditional wife. There is, however, based on that not yet a female becoming a president of a nation, it is arguably that the first lady is only as a political figure to bound with the president thus far. To answer the age-old questions of women’s role in politics, the study of first lady is somewhat relevant to gender politics based on its pertinence. Often in comparison with her husband, the first lady, normally, has been exerted some types of impacts on the position and on the man whom she was married to. Researches on first lady from historical perspective have been deemed that the evaluation of first ladyship was initially seen as a minimal part of the international stage and ultimately of the history books. Though there still has been a comparative formalization of the office, with the statutory and case law explicitly authorizing the staff of first ladyship and her engagement in policymaking, the recognition of first lady is still of significance as it accentuates the gradual rise of public persuasion’s importance to the first lady position.
Whether the aforementioned background allows for the evaluation of the position of first lady as an activist political partner of her husband is uncertain. Actually, the evaluation arguably did not occur until twenty centuries, the time when people have witnessed the rise of a woman’s rights movement and its contested development movement into the feminism. This do not simply lead the way of expanding the rights of women and gain political power but also challenge the position of first lady in private sphere. That may change the situation of separate sphere ideology surrounding by first ladies. Separate sphere ideology is a theory that centers around females in the private sphere of the homes and men in the public sphere. This is solely led by the perceived differences from men and women (Ford,2011). Despite that there still some of first ladies who chose to become the independent spokeswomen of their husbands or for their own causes, as openly influencing the president, as well as making their views publicly known (Carlin, 2004). As Carlin states, although most of those women were mainly by means of dressing pretty to be politically active in or has sought to maintain a political face other than by backing her husband, but some have made many important political contributions to creating necessary pattern of political pattern of first lady, in publicity recognition, making great foundation to the afterwards changes on the influence of first lady on a well-scaled integration.
Before first ladies routinely spoke publicly as part of their performance of the position (1789-1920), specifically, the earliest first ladies were politically involved in patronage solicitation and presidential advising as they supported their spouse’s political careers. The precedent-setting first ladies also engaged in acts of volunteerism that extended the values of republican motherhood beyond the home to frame women’s philanthropic activities during the nineteenth century. Such social politicking and benevolent volunteerism were integral antecedents to the evolution of the rhetorical first lady. As it became more common for first ladies to speak publicly (1920-2002), presidential wives took their benevolent volunteering and social politicking activities a more public platform. Reminiscent of their nineteenth-century predecessors, the volunteer activities of twentieth-century first ladies also reflected the ideology of republican motherhood, yet simultaneously expanded their space of authority to local, state, national, and international communities. Many first ladies performed the more traditional role of “first mother,” concerned with the health and morality of the nation’s children. Although still often confined to nongovernmental activities, many contemporary first ladies politicked publicly; some promoted their husband’s political platforms, others showcased their own political agenda through legislative action, and many helped craft a role for women’s participation in the political sphere, transforming the twentieth-century version of the republican mother into an activist voice of national consequence. In the end, such an examination of the rhetorical first lady reveals its contested space. The first lady pulpit can act as a site for the performance of archetypal femininity; it can also function as location of feminist advancement that challenges gender stereotypes, expanding women’s political space.
Even though the role of first lady is confined by different phases of the society process from the perspective of gender politics, the improvement of the first ladyship is still existed. Within the competitive globalization, the participation of first lady is broadened its scale of integrations globally. They are not only as an accompanied partner of the president during the visit overseas, they currently present individually on some international public affairs such as some activities on education or some charities activities even the appealing awareness activities of diseases. As based on the status of the first lady, the effect of such kinds of activities can be progress in an effective implement from the government to the public in their countries meanwhile it is also a reasonable connection to the world public stage. According to the research from Ford (2011), first ladyship normally regards as three main types of roles in international relations: a brilliant spokeswoman of both nation and the president the bridge between people and government on public affairs, the lubricant of countries relations internationally. The following sections of literature review will typically demonstrate on the impact of first lady combined with the perspective in China and in comparison, to the content of Chinese characteristics, with the Western countries on first lady process based on the current first lady as a case study.
First Lady’s Impact on National Public Image
Reviewing media reports on the First Lady’s impact on Chinese national image provides rich literature on how she positively transformed China’s image to the rest of the world. According to research the image of the “first lady” was of great significance in shaping the image of the leader (president) and the country’s image in general (Fang & Cheng, 2014). Fang and Cheng posit that since the Chinese “first lady” Peng Liyuan appeared in the vision of global public, from the schedule to the manner of appearance, from performance to casual clothing, she has since become a hot topic in the domestic and foreign media. In complementing the above assertion, further research reading indicates that moderate display of national leaders’ family life is conducive to shape the personality of the leaders, and then in a vivid way to show the image of the nation and in the case of this dissertation, China (Yan, 2011). Yan posits that this is a norm and recent evolution of international leadership especially in countries such as China which initially had no first lady figure(s).
Recently published foreign media reports on President Xi and his wife visit show first lady’s charm and the chairman of the couple in international communication. It has great positive energy effect on shaping the image of the country leaders. Peng Liyuan herself is not an elected government leader, but her special “first lady” position and her execution of the same has spread the image of the government external identity function, such as excellent political partner and the global goodwill ambassador image. Additionally, Peng Liyuan as a professional woman, her inner identity highlights the image of Chinese modern women, such as artists, wives and mothers, as well as the role of fashion women. The below is a breakdown of what foreign media reports have on the impact of Peng Liyuan’s visits on China’s national image.
Good political partner and flexible leader
The Associated Press published in March 24, 2013 wrote “a born foreign star”. It reported that the image of Peng Liyuan is popular in the world, which help ease the Chinese image initially portrayed as harsh and stun. At the same time, in the international public opinion, it has also made significant progress. The report also mentioned that her image helps to enhance the status of the new leadership in the public mind, especially when the people feel between the government and the existence of corruption within the gap or the government or a bureaucracy; Peng Liyuan appears to ease the situation. In the modern political communication, the composition of the charm of political figures is diverse, including temperament affinity, language expression, decision execution, as well as the quality of the people around. “First lady” not only required political role but she really can bring extra political wealth, as the representative of the state and politicians the First Lady position can add luster. In the western political communications the “first lady” effect ensures national leaders carry access to meet the requirements of peer to participate in foreign affairs. It not only promotes the effective development of public diplomacy but more importantly it improves the reaction of the people in the country. For instance, if President Xi Jinping is trying to change the hardware Chinese political culture, such as corruption, bureaucracy; Peng Liyuan is expected to change the political culture in Chinese software, including manners, temperament, accomplishment, and how to transfer the new elegant way of political image.”
Global Philanthropy Ambassador
Peng Liyuan has long been committed to public welfare undertakings. In early June, 2011, WHO director general Dr. Chen Feng Fuzhen appointed the Chinese famous folk singer and actor Peng Liyuan lady as WHO ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. She said Ms. Peng has been involved in public health campaigns and tuberculosis and AIDS prevention. In January 2006, she was appointed to the Ministry of health China “AIDS prevention advocates”. In March 2007, she became the “ambassador” image of the TB prevention and control. At the same time Chinese “ambassador for tobacco control, juvenile crime prevention ambassadors for tomorrow”. In March, 2014, China’s first lady Peng Liyuan received “Promoting girls and women’s education envoy” honorary title. Peng Liyuan said in her speech she will be committed to the cause of China’s women and children, so that more women and children can receive education. Chinese women liberation has made great progress, basically eliminated illiteracy among adult women. The Spring Bud Project, project hope and other public projects help millions of girls return to school. At present, gender inequality is still ingrained global ills; women have not completely changed the status of vulnerable groups. Peng Liyuan is willing to do what she can to help more children, sisters to fight for the right to receive education, to help them change their lives to contribute to the strength of the nation. Peng Liyuan actively participates in public welfare undertakings and cares for women and children. It is greatly important to correct the misunderstanding of Western media about Chinese rights and interests of women and children.
The role of the family to build a moderate and good image of Chinese women
From president Xi Jinping and his wife’s first trip to Russia, the Deputy Director of the Russian Far East Research Institute, Professor Lu Jianing said in Moscow that, China’s first lady sitting in the audience listening and always smiling, shows appreciation for her husband. Accompanying Xi Jinping on his visit to the United States in a private meeting, Peng Liyuan colorful identity appeared in front of the world and further gained good effect and appreciation of a flexible transmission and companion. As an artist she is not only talented, she also showed a friendly image which can be said to be amiable and easy of approach. The set of “excellent quality should have the first lady” will help greatly to further enhance the soft power of Chinese. As the United States first lady Michel is known as the mother of the commander, Peng Liyuan enjoys the wife and mother of the family roles. Earlier in the interview she said, in her opinion, she is actually a very traditional woman, always dragging luggage back home, always drag the clothes, wash and cook. “Doing housework is a joy for me, I am willing to mend and wash, willing to put the home in a better condition” were her precise words. At the time Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan met, each had their own work to complete but every time Peng talked about Xi Jinping, she always looked happy. “I think he is the best man in the heart of all women.” The common role of women is likely to cause resonance among other women in the country and portray her as a mother of the nation.
Promoting Chinese cultural and artistic achievements
German “times” weekly published a report, titled «China’s new” first lady “- national artist». To introduce her as a singer and artist; the article said that Peng Liyuan since 1983 in the Spring Festival gala performances, has become a well-known star. Singapore’s “United Morning Post” wrote, “Peng Liyuan: China’s new business card”. According to the article Peng Liyuan obviously has the competence of China’s new era “first lady” of strength. In the 30 years of her career, Peng Liyuan relied on her own strength to conquer the numerous audiences. Because of this, Peng Liyuan’s “first lady” caused by the highly anticipated artistic Peng Liyuan who in recent years has faded out of the stage, more to participate in public welfare activities and public performances can be termed as highly successful. In 2008, after the earthquake in Wenchuan, Peng Liyuan participated in the troupe to perform for the people of the affected people and presented her own carefully selected songs. “First lady” is not only the leader of the country’s partner, but their role in the family life as an understanding wife and loving mother, most also have their own independent career. Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan as a national singer is also actively engaged in cultural and education related work. The achievements made by the enterprise, not only can perfectly explain the improvement of Chinese modern women’s social status, but also can spread China’s high level art and high level education. As the Reuters reported that since 1970 the Chinese government began to deliberately not report on the spouse’s news of the leaders, but Peng Liyuan broke this situation. It is not difficult to see that Chinese are trying to promote its soft power and strive to improve the international image.
First Lady’s Impact on Public Diplomacy
Peng’s case can be explained from various aspects ranging from first lady public democracy to media exposure focusing on developing national image of China. With regards to the factor of first lady public democracy, the case of Peng demonstrates the involvement of first ladies in politics and different societal movements, lifting the public image of China. In earlier years, it was difficult to clearly define the successful roles of first ladies because of a lack clear guidance of the Constitution regarding their election. However, in this present day context, the contribution of first ladies exists in developing the architecture of the a nation’s foreign affairs by strengthening the image and the agenda of the Presidents, supporting crucial relationships as well as alliances and prominently addressing issues related to human rights (Baik, 2014). In lieu of first lady public democracy, the case of Peng also showcases the endeavors made towards developing the underlying infrastructural facilities comprising healthcare and children needs within China, depicting a primary shift in the nation’s approach in relation to its first lady. Public diplomacy is deemed as a fundamental aspect towards maintaining the effectiveness of a nation in performing global affairs successfully. Peng’s case also showcases the need of introducing public diplomacy so that the economy of China can be developed extensively by conducting international affairs in an efficient way (CPD, 2015).
The case of Peng can be related to the role played by first lady public diplomacy in developing the national image of China by remaining committed towards different public welfare undertakings. For instance, the Director-General of a specialized agency named World Health Organization (WHO) allotted Peng as the ambassador in the year 2011 for addressing adverse health outcomes relating to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Moreover, the first lady obtained honorary title of “Promoting girls and women’s education envoy” in 2014, which showed Peng’s public diplomacy in progressing the standards of the women and the girls. The active participation of Peng in distinct public welfare undertakings focuses on correcting the misunderstanding of western media about the rights as well as the interests of women and children (Baik, 2014).It is projected that three important attributes of China’s public image are likely to be transformed through first lady diplomacy, resulting in improved performance of international affairs. One of these attributes entails growing engagement of women in politics that certainly constructs an optimistic and an upright public image. Apart from this, the other attributes comprise increasing Chinese media exposure through positive, fashion and caring manifestation of first lady and softening of national disputes (Kejin, 2015).
Peng’s first lady public democracy characteristics can be better comprehended from the formation, development and the maintenance of profound relations with the international counterparts, thereby enhancing national image of China at large. The first lady of China i.e. Peng convoyed Xi on initial overseas trips to South Africa, Russia, Republic of Congo and Tanzania among others in the year 2013. These trips also included European Union and South Korea that were made in 2014. It is mentioned earlier that accompanying Xi in the stated trips has facilitated to develop China’s international relations by a considerable level as compared to the earlier years due to active participation of Peng in different programs (Baik, 2014). For instance, as per the observation made by Baik (2014), Peng attended a program in a Moscow boarding school in Russia during 2013, which was based on the theme of education of children who have been estranged from their parents. Apart from this, in the similar year, Peng also had a separate talk with the first lady of Tanzania regarding women empowerment and donated various articles such as sewing machines and bags among others. This active participation of Peng in different social development programs eventually portrays better first lady public diplomacy characteristic, which strengthened international relations amid Russia and China along with Tanzania (Baik, 2014).
Apart from public diplomacy, another factor i.e. media exposure addressing the development of China’s national image also explains Peng’s case in a better way. Based on the obtained research results, it can be observed that the national mainstream media played a crucial function in encouraging people to better comprehend the image of first lady and its contribution towards the advancement of China’s countrywide representation. For instance, during the visits of Peng in various nations with President Xi, the national mainstream media primarily concentrated on depicting the first lady’s diplomacy image, which is accompanied by attending meetings and participating indifferent societal programs. Considering that Peng appeared in the visualization of global public from performance to appearance manner, the Chinese first lady public diplomacy in relation to Peng became a hot topic both in foreign and domestic media. The recent national mainstream media reports on President Xi and Peng’s visit in different nations throughout the globe reveal wider development in international communication, which has the potentiality to shape the cultural image of China at large. These reports also demonstrated that being a professional woman, Peng’s inner identity depicts the representations of modern women belonging to China that include artists, mothers and wives. Considering the different public diplomacy characteristics of Peng, the national mainstream media of China spread the image of Peng as performing external identity based government functions comprising projecting the image of a worldwide goodwill ambassador along with an exceptional political partner (CPD, 2015).
The national mainstream media of China explained the case of Peng in an appropriate way by referring to international public opinion, which improves the position of new leadership in the minds of the public. In this contemporary political communication system, it is argued that the representation of different political figures is diverse in nature with respect to the factors of language expression, temperament affinity and decision execution among others. Under this circumstance, it is thus expected that even though variations persist in these attributes, the first lady leaders are able to address global public opinion by encouraging effective advancement of public diplomacy and ensuring wider participation in foreign affairs (CPD, 2015). The national mainstream media of China highlighted that China’s first lady Peng is successful in addressing and developing global public opinion by presenting news type and themes along with contents in front of the public. For instance, the media presented the news type accompanied by visits and attending meetings wherein the involvement of the first lady of China in participating in various communal programs is kept as the primary theme or content (Baik, 2014).
China’s national mainstream media portrayed Peng’s case as an important driver towards developing the national image of the nation in terms of strengthening healthcare reforms and enhancing existing procedures through which positive experience of care is provided to the affected people suffering from any disease. The reason behind this media portrayal about Peng’s case emerges from the fact that prior to becoming the first lady in the year 2013, Peng served as a volunteer for performing governmental activities on AIDS during 2006 and has remained ambassadors for both tobacco control in 2009 and tuberculosis along with AIDS from 2011. This background of Peng relating to healthcare domain is disseminated by the national mainstream media of China, which in turn, facilitated to develop her image as a governmental entity towards ensuring wider social advancement in terms of uplifting the medical conditions of the people. According to China’s national mainstream media, the national image of the nation can be developed with the help of the first lady’s public diplomacy under the leadership of Peng in terms of accepting more foreign investments and permitting privatization among others. The media also portrayed that the implications of the contemporary first lady public democracy of China may range from supporting positive domestic public outlook by growing the international standing of the first lady and mitigating gaps existing amid leadership and the citizens (Baik, 2014).
Peng’s Characteristics, Motivations and Strengths
Peng’s case cannot be explained or even challenged due to the involvement of political leaders, their intellectual communities and universal public belonging to China in a new strategic discourse specifically on foreign policy design. With the appearance of current global events that include tensions over Ukraine amid Russia and the US led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), visit of ex-President Barrack Obama to Tokyo for consolidating the US-Japan alliance and trip of Putin, the Russian President to Beijing for signing a deal with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the worldwide geopolitical landscape has become a critical point of philosophical change. Under this circumstance, eliminating political enemies and consolidating global power can be regarded as certain critical aspects that might not be explained by Peng’s case or even challenged in developing the cultural image of China within a specified timeframe. This can be owing to the reason that the PRC’s requirement for maintaining continuous growth and the aspiration of the nation to become an exclusive military power will test the leadership skills, wisdom and the strategies of Peng that have an influence while adopting significant political decisions (Li, 2016).
Even though the first lady public diplomacy features place the position of Peng in developing national image of China, still these characteristics pose challenge in determining the effectiveness of Peng’s policies and political legacy of her leadership. This challenge primarily emerges from the need of constructing, developing and maintaining a major power affiliation amid China and other nations throughout the globe, which may generate win-win situations in the long run (CPD, 2015).The quest of China for obtaining soft power can also be considered as the other factor in recent times, which cannot explain Peng’s case or even challenge the public diplomacy features that are possessed by the first lady of China (Lam, 2007). China’s pursuit of soft power is typically driven by a need to achieve as well as retrieve respectability for the nation similar to that of the West instead of becoming hegemony or a standard bearer on the global phase (Breslin, 2011). It is earlier mentioned that Peng has escorted her husband i.e. President Xi on numerous state visits, which is highly publicized under the national mainstream media of China. This publicity or media portrayal signified a key alteration in China’s approach towards performing acts of public diplomacy, leading towards greater development of the country’s national image (CPD, 2015).
According to the reports published by CPD (2015), first ladies are playing a significant role in public diplomacy of a nation for a longer time. In this context, the case of Peng receives special attention in China, as the nation dynamically courts worldwide public opinion. Even though the public diplomacy attitudes and features possessed by Peng such as shaping the personality of the political leaders and developing international communication among others made her a valuable asset in the nation, there is less understanding about the roles that she can play in enhancing China’s national image. Moreover, with increased media exposure towards the activities performed by Peng as a first lady public diplomat, het exact roles have remained undefined. These attributes eventually pose challenges in serving the nation successfully for an elongated time in terms of shaping along with reflecting political reality of China by using Peng’s own personal charisma. It is believed that the support of President Xi increased the potentiality of Peng in introducing and mitigating political reforms as well as financial difficulties. Although the presence of Peng on the world stage is growing by an extensive level, her roles still remain undefined as questions are likely to be raised regarding her ability to solve any sort of difficulty by her own charisma without depending on her husband (CPD, 2015).
The notion of first lady diplomacy has become a debatable topic in this present day context after the meeting held between Peng and Michelle Obama, the ex-first lady belonging to the US. From earlier years, first ladies have been involved actively in different social and political movements, aiming towards the advancement of national image of their respective nations. For instance, after becoming first lady in the year 2013, Peng participated in various social programs and thereby created a global presence in distinct spheres. However, the quest of China for retrieving soft power and restructuring social, financial along with political reforms based on personal charisma may not explain Peng’s case in an appropriate way and thereby challenge to ensure wider development in China’s national image (Baik, 2014).
Chinese Context and Comparison with Other Countries
According to Li, (2015), besides public diplomacy, media coverage is also another important factor that contributes vitally in developing the public image of the First Lady as well as its country in front of the international audience. Lippmann (1946) states media as a connection that link the real world and the pictures in our minds. Average citizens have to obtain the knowledge and information about the First Lady from the media. Portrayal of First Ladies’ political activities is prominently under the influence of media. However, literature views that these media coverage face limitations due to the layers of influence from the political systems, media systems and cross-national differences. Additionally, literature has also offered great direction in analyzing how the media reporting and exposure about the First lady’s appearances and stylish manner could lead to the public praise. For example, Li, (2015) has given example of Michelle Obama in winning the compliments for her elegant clothing and her interactions with the ordinary people in a country. Her fashion choices are portrayed also to help the First lady in playing her diplomatic role to create positive picture for the USA culture. Similarly, the diplomacy theories and literature have confirmed that media can play a negative and positive part in the preserving or restoring public image of the First Lady. Such media exposure has helped Jacqueline Kennedy in restoration of the White House, his influence on cultural taste and sophistication, her fashion and her independent progressive roles.
In the similar context, Fox, (2010) in examining the portrayal and media framing for the two women politicians, stated that media plays a critical role in increase people’s expectations of first lady to act like men. These First Ladies are evaluated in a manner in which they have placed impact on influencing femininity. The country’s quest for the soft power is another factor driving the role of First Lady Diplomacies. Therefore, the First ladies are required to participate in different social programs and help in the development of the global in creating a global presence for a nation. It can be examined that the mission of country for retrieving soft power and restructuring social, financial along with political reforms based on personal charisma can limit the independency of the First Lady. They are more pressurized to bring foreign investments and help privatization in order to promote the positive public outlook through the growth of the international standing of the First Lady (Baik, 2014).
Essentially, all literature evidence consulted has served to showcase how Peng Liyuan’s role as China’s First Lady has been greatly played to perfection. Despite certain limitations partly mentioned in some of the sections, it has appeared clearly from literature that Peng Liyuan is the perfect depiction of China’s soft power, Chinese women elegance and fashion and China’s rich culture and heritage. She has come in; in a time where China really needs to up its international diplomatic game and by all means she has appeared as the best game changer in China’s international missions. It can therefore be confidently concluded that Peng Liyuan is a perfect depiction of China’s soft power and serves to validate her presence as the President’s companion in national as well as international duty.
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