Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Captain America versus Kungfu Panda [My Ramblings]


I just caught the recently released Captain America and it got me thinking.

Brace for impact and welcome to a twenty-first century of transiting great powers. If the twentieth century anno domini saw the emblemic rule of Captain America, the twenty-first witnesseses a (depending on how you are informed) a rising or returning frequency to the global hum. The Chinese nation, since opening up in 1978 returns to the apex of humanity’s mindshare in a multitude of guises. From world’s factory to human rights abuser to the world’s largest foreign holder of American debt; it is also no stretch of imagination to consider China’s guise as PR champion.

As recently as 2008, foreign nations were still quick to criticize the Chinese model; their representatives quite happy to boycott the Beijing Olympics – today few countries vent their laments about China publicly. And how the tables have turned. From a century of humiliation at the hands of European colonial powers and Japan, China has performed one of the most dramatic comebacks and just last week – was quite happy to criticize the way the US handle their accounts. Such a paradigm shift was facilitated by an increased understanding of political diplomacy, and a media-intensive charm offensive model of public diplomacy; the soft power aspect of building of a Beijing Consensus.

To take a diagrammatic approach, if the Washington consensus was represented by the iconography of the bald eagle and Captain America, what would China’s be? Kung-fu Panda (although that is a product of American narrative) seems to fit the description – An adorable-looking fighting force based on a midde path engaged in panda politics. Perhaps even Donnie Yen as the twenty-first century Chinese wuxia hero. I wonder what your thoughts are?

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bob's Opinion, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Influence, International Relations, Media, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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