The Economist this week featured an article about Chinese consumer spending titled “Doing it Their Way”. The article is a response to the release of the documentary film “Tiny Times” by Guo Jingming. The film follows the lives of China’s young elite. The film shows a the high life of China; a side rarely shown. The Economist article focuses on “China’s rush towards consumerism” and its global implications.
However after reading the article I brought up questions in regards to what this revelation means for China’s public diplomacy efforts. China a country hyper-aware of its global image now has to deal with the burden of being perceived as an rich and powerful country. China, a country that has an ambivalent stance, markets its self to the worlds as both developed and developing may no longer be able to fake the ladder. China’s has contributed more than any other country to the growth in global consumption between 2011-2013. (Economist). Even some of its poorest cities are quickly increasing consumer spending.
China is indeed a developed country and people are beginning to take notice. From a public diplomacy stand point that could challenge China’s public diplomacy efforts and outreach to the worlds poorer countries. When China courts potential developing countries to make trade deals and lure medical practitioners , China will have less of a case that it is any “different” from the Western world. Evidence of this trend has already begun to appear on social media sites where many people have took to different platforms to criticize the lifestyle and materialism of China’s elite as documented in Guo’s film.