Foreign Minister Wang Yi tried to present China in a positive light amid growing negative perceptions of his country in the post-coronavirus world, shining a spotlight on how Beijing plans to flip that unfavourable narrative in its rivalry with Western democracies.
In a carefully scripted and controlled press conference on the sidelines of the
National People’s Congress on Sunday, Wang fielded more than two dozen questions covering a wide range of international and domestic hotspots, including
Xinjiang, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
While most questions were framed in a less critical way this year and were about specific foreign policy issues or China’s relations with various parts of the world, they were by and large centred on one particular topic: China’s global image problem. Without acknowledging the problem directly, Wang appeared unusually patient and well prepared to take on widespread criticism and concerns about China’s rise, its aggressive post-coronavirus diplomacy and the rapid deterioration of its ties with the United States and its allies.