21st Century Maritime Silk Road · China · Diplomacy · Foreign Policy · Public Diplomacy · Sri Lanka

Enhancing China’s Overseas Investment Image through Public Diplomacy

The last decade showcased an increase in overseas investment by the People’s Republic of China and its private enterprises. This increased further with President Xi Jinping’s announcement of the Silk Route initiatives which is collectively known as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. The success of these initiatives and investments lie in being able to harness the support from the local public wherein the said investments are being made. Whilst investments by the Government of China and its private stakeholders are vast in number and are made in numerous countries, this article analyses the investments made in South Asia and particularly in Sri Lanka. The article examines the public opinion towards Chinese investments in the island-state and studies the negativity associated with these projects. Qualitative in nature, the methodology draws on thematic coding of various secondary material available in the public domain. It further analyses speeches and statements made by public figures in order to understand the negative image given to Chinese investments. The objective of this article was to ascertain the reasons for the negative image and to propose recommendations for China to utilise Public Diplomacy to improve their overseas image. In conclusion, the article acknowledges that the lack of a robust public diplomacy strategy by China in Sri Lanka, is creating the negative image in the island-state. It further provides possible remedies that could be initiated to eradicate the negative criticism.

The fulltext of the journal article can be found here

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