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Cablegate: Supporting the Potus Visit: Congen Guangzhou Swarmed To

VZCZCXRO3787
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0653/01 3350926
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010926Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1131
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0365
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0344
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0340
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC 0102
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 0025
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0017

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000653

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, EAP/PD, IIP, PA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KMDR PREL EINT SOCI CH
SUBJECT: Supporting the POTUS Visit: ConGen Guangzhou Swarmed to
Build the Buzz

Ref: A) BEIJING 00003157

1. (SBU) Summary: Guangzhou programmed significant outreach to
amplify the POTUS November 15-18 trip to China, hosted bloggers for
the All-China Bloggers DVC prior to the visit, and used Twitter to
deliver live content of the POTUS Shanghai speech to thousands of
Chinese netizens. Although Foreign Affairs Offices (FAO) cancelled
the majority of Post's planned Town Hall "watch parties," the south
China public response was positive -- especially in Fujian where
several schools were programmed for the first time, and Post's
Twitter account remains a valuable resource to circumvent barriers
to accurate information. End summary.
Bloggers and TV Coverage at the Consulate
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) To build buzz in the run-up to the visit, Post co-hosted
the first-ever Mission China Blogger DVC Conference with Beijing and
Shanghai on November 12. Influential Guangzhou bloggers raised
issues of Internet censorship, human rights, and imprisoned
dissidents. Hong Kong Cable TV interviewed the bloggers immediately
following the DVC and aired their report the next day. Audiences for
the bloggers are estimated in the tens of millions, and for Hong
Kong Cable TV in the millions.

Buzz
----

3. (U) During the week before the POTUS visit, Post spread the word
about the President's agenda at American Culture Week at Xiamen
University, as well as events in Guangzhou where officers discussed
American history and debated on carbon emission reduction targets.
Using the President's then up-coming visit as the backdrop, Xiamen
Culture Week included welcoming remarks by the Consul General
highlighting the POTUS visit, 17 lectures, events and movies to
discuss financial systems, cultural difference, history,
individualism and responsibility, social distinctiveness, family
values, gender roles, the power of words, and the American Dream,
with a total audience of nearly 1,000.

Twitter: Thousands of Followers
-------------------------------

4. (SBU) At the urging of a censorship-hating local blogger, Post
created a Twitter account to tweet live during the Shanghai Town
Hall. Bloggers spread the word that Post had done so and by the time
of the speech -- less than two work days after the site had been
established -- Post had 2,195 "followers." China coverage was
limited to U.S.-based websites, Shanghai TV, and scrolling text on
Xinhua. Because no one knew if these would be blocked or Xinhua
would be censored, many netizens checked Twitter to make sure they
were getting accurate, up-to-date information from the Town Hall.
Live in Shenzhen
----------------

5. (SBU) The Consul General hosted live streaming of the Town Hall
for 100 students at Beijing University Transnational School of Law
in Shenzhen. The school -- which follows a U.S. legal curriculum --
is supported by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
Although no Chinese media broadcast the speech live, America.gov did
not crash. When the streaming video did seize up, the Consul General
used the opportunity to answer students' questions on transnational
trade disputes, legal exchanges between the U.S. and China, and
religious freedom.

Watch Parties: The Consulate Swarm
----------------------------------

6. (SBU) Thirty officers volunteered to swarm out to 14 universities
throughout Guangdong to host Town Hall "watch parties." Foreign
Affairs Offices were unsupportive, and most of these programs were
cancelled. When the dust had settled only four officers were able to
travel to universities in Guangzhou, where they led discussions with
230 students; during one of these watch parties, a local documentary
crew filmed the presentation. In Fujian, the Consul General and
Transformational Diplomacy Officer spoke about the POTUS visit at
four schools to another 550 students. The TD Officer presentations
at Fuzhou University (30 students) and Jimei University (130
students) represented the first time that these schools have
accepted public affairs programming, setting a hopeful precedent for
the future. At Xiamen University of Technology, the TD Officer met
with an overflow audience of 240 students.

Fifty-fifty

GUANGZHOU 00000653 002 OF 002


-----------

7. (SBU) Summary and Comment: Despite Foreign Affairs Offices severe
but expected restriction of Post's outreach, programming was
extensive and well received. The key to public diplomacy's success
in south China remains an assumption that over 50% of what one hopes
to do will be cancelled and to plan accordingly. End Summary and
Comment.
GOLDBECK

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