Tag Archives: China

Tiananmen Remembered – 20 Years Later

By Grant Neufeld via Flickr

By Grant Neufeld via Flickr

When Tiananmen happened, I was just a college freshman – fresh-eyed and away from home the first time in my life. I was just exploring my identity – second generation Chinese born to immigrant parents, seeking to understand how I fit into the world. The incidents in Tiananmen were eye-opening, shocking and maddening at the same time.

Fast forward 20 years. The anniversary sort of crept up on me. There is barely any mention of the anniversary on TV. Somehow, this incident has been swept away as the Chinese government has expertly positioned itself on the world stage over the past years and the success of the Beijing Olympics.

It’s interesting to hear the lengths that the Chinese government is going through in advance of the anniversary.  Social networking sites, such as Twitter, are being blocked to stem the flow of information coming out of China. In a way, they are the best in our profession – the ability to control a message and put out the one that they want.

In 1989, this wasn’t the case. The government was unsure how to manage the spontaneous marches that took place and youthful excitement of the student leaders seeking change. Rather, their knee-jerk reaction resulted in the deadly incidents on June 4. The moment of transparency and openness was quickly closed.

While the Chinese government attempts a blackout in the coming days, I hope the voices of those able to leave China will serve as a reminder to those incidents 20 years ago this Thursday. Surely, no one government can completely block out the voices?

What lessons can we learn from Tiananmen and the Chinese government’s actions?

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Off topic: Beijing Olympic Torch Relay

Beijing Olympics IconI don’t include my political leanings on this blog. That’s not the purpose. With that said, the recent uproar over the torch relay hits home a bit.

I majored in East Asian Studies with a heavy dose of Chinese language and culture. I lived in Tianjin (2 hours south of Beijing via train) for one year in undergrad and Taipei for three years after graduating. So I’ve been exposed to the dialogue on China for years.

The torch relay in San Francisco will be tumultous. Though I don’t support disrupting the runners, I am amazed at how “organized” some of the protests have been.

I believe that the run up to the Olympics will not be what the Chinese government wanted. An opportunity to showcase China around the world. But i also believe that they underestimated the response. Whether it’s too late or not, the government is seeking a PR agency to inevitably help in the run up.

This will be a fascinating inflection in China’s global relations.  The question is whether China considers this  a loss of face or an opportunity to open up. If history is any indication, I think the former will be true and further isolate China from the rest of the world.

In the end, I hope the politics don’t prevent the atheletes from fulfilling their lifelong dreams.

Update: The route was changed to avoid the large crowd of pro-torch and protesters near the previously announced route. I tried to catch a bit of history and missed it unfortunately. Sounds as if protesters were able to catch up to the torch. I’ll have to see it on TV tonight.

PRMeetsMarketing Weekly Articles: December 14, 2007

Better late than never – here is this week’s of interesting articles. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed: 

What Consumers Really Use Media – Via KD Paine’s blog, I saw this tidbit about Ketchum’s new survey. The survey highlights where consumers turn to for information and advice. Here’s the gist of the results: “Despite the strong evidence that friends, family and experts play a key role in influencing decisions, only 24 percent of communicators report having a word-of-mouth program in place.” 

Refresher Course for Blogging – Robin Good posts this primer from Joshua Porter. Joshua provides his nine tips for blogging. As communicators/practitioners/marketers, I think it’s key to understand how bloggers are constantly seeking to improve their blogs. And personally, I liked Joshua’s tips! 

To Astroturf, Is to Be? – Now is Gone is fast becoming one of my favorite PR related blogs. In this post, Ike highlights that astroturfing is just part of our human DNA. In the great words of the Borg “Resistance is futile” – or is it?  

Take a Community to Build a Social Network – Toby Bloomberg shares 12 tips for creating a social networking community. Very solid tips for any company wanting to create a community.  

The Great Twitter Experiment – As many may have heard by now, Jeremiah Owyang started an interesting experiment earlier this week. Jeremiah’s twitter post helped many people find each other, including yours truly. Check out my post about this as well. 

When Blogging Isn’t for Everyone – This comes courtesy of the Influential Interactive Marketing blog. Seems like Scott Adams of Dilbert fame is realizing that a blog may not be the best outlet for achieving his goals. In this case, Adams had some goals for his blog. As Rohit states: “Free or not free, if your blog ends up having a different voice than what your audience expects, then you may need to come to a similar realization about your blog.”  

Social Media in China – Da Jia Hao! (Hello Everyone!) – I will always have a soft spot for China and Taiwan. Buzz Bin brings us an interview with Debbie Weil and the growth of social media in China. Don’t underestimate China. Just because the media and information is supervised doesn’t mean it will curtail participation by individuals. People have learned to adapt within the unsaid rules of the culture.  

An Evolved CMO I found this interesting CMO research from Forrester interesting as it may help to understand what a CMO’s ultimate goal is. And heck, maybe we can help with this as well! 

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