BEIJING вЂ” ChinaвЂ™s increasingly image-conscious government has appointed a trusted member of the ruling Communist Party to head up its international propaganda operation.
Former top internet regulator Xu Lin will be in charge of efforts to portray China as a progressive force for good in the world at a time when itвЂ™s facing criticism over its allegedly unfair trading practices, human rights abuses and militarization of island claims in the South China Sea.
XuвЂ™s appointment to the position of head of the Cabinet-level State Council Information Office was announced by state media outlets on Tuesday.
Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Beijing has sought to draw a contrast with his administration by emphasizing its role in promoting free trade and addressing global issues such as climate change. Critics say that contradicts ChinaвЂ™s roles as the most restricted major economy and a leading polluter.
Chinese President and party leader Xi Jinping has also gone to lengths to promote his trademark, trillion-dollar вЂњBelt and RoadвЂќ initiative that seeks to link China with other parts of Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond through transport and infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, ChinaвЂ™s entirely state-controlled media has been aggressively expanding overseas in hopes of countering unflattering images of the country and promoting BeijingвЂ™s take on global political, economic and cultural matters.
Xu, 55, had earlier been brought in to enforce ChinaвЂ™s strict regulations on the internet after predecessor Lu Wei was ousted in a corruption scandal.