Kong Jiesheng (孔捷生): CCP Media Policy, Soft Power and China’s “Third Affliction”

At China Media Project, David Bandurski translates and discusses and editorial in Apple Daily by Kong Jiesheng (孔捷生), a dissident cultural figure and writer of “scar literature,” about China’s soft power:

Kong writes about China’s “three afflictions,” or san’ai (三挨), which received some attention in 2008 following unrest in Tibet and in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games.

The idea, which Kong says emerged from a Chinese government think tank, is that three major factors over the past century have hampered China’s national strength — namely, foreign aggression, a weak economy and basic subsistence issues, and last, but now in the forefront, China’s continued demonization at the hands of proud, ignorant, hateful and fearful Western nations.

The first of these afflictions was thrown off by Mao Zedong. The second by Deng Xiaoping. The CCP’s present generation of leaders now face the third.

The “three afflictions” is an interesting formula that can help us understand the thoughts and emotions driving current media policy in China. Specifically, the formula underlines the roots of the CCP’s present “soft power” push in the longstanding narrative of national victimization.