The Chinese Media Reciprocity Act, public diplomacy and the US–China relationship
In 2011, the US Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act (H.R. 2899). The legislation seeks to amend American immigration law to ensure that the United States does not issue more visas to journalists working for China's state-controlled media in the United States than China issues to journalists working for the US government-funded broadcasters in China. This article contends that while highlighting disparities in the number of visas issued to journalists working for state-owned media operated by the two countries makes for compelling political theater, actual passage of the legislation would be counterproductive. Analysis presented here suggests that although the Act's passage would have little effect on the news Americans get about China, it would destabilize the US–China bilateral relationship, threaten the United States’ international reputation as a supporter of global press freedoms and ultimately result in a net loss for American public diplomacy efforts worldwide. Alternatives for tackling visa disparities and other issues related to both public diplomacy and American concerns about press freedom in China are considered.
Keywordspublic diplomacy international broadcasting press freedom Congress the United States China
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