Little Red Podcast

Power Pandemic

How facemask diplomacy became China's soft power play

An episode of the Little Red Podcast

China's Covid diplomacy – dispatching facemasks and respirators overseas – is being hailed as the ultimate soft power play. But is this really soft power? To answer this question, we're joined by the man who coined the term – Joseph Nye, the former dean of Harvard Kennedy School of Government – as well as Bates Gill, professor in the Department of Security Studies at Macquarie University, and Natasha Kassam, a research fellow in the Diplomacy and Public Opinion Program at the Lowy Institute:

Little Red Podcast

Power Projection

China’s Hollywood dream and disruption

An episode of the Little Red Podcast

With cinema takings in the United States at a 22-year low, Hollywood moguls are looking to an unlikely saviour: China. With box office revenues growing at 9 percent, Hollywood is scrambling to find the formula for movies that make the cut of China’s 34 approved films and appeal to Chinese audiences. For every surprise hit, like The Meg and Warcraft, there are flops like The Great Wall. Like many an autocrat before him, Xi Jinping is enamoured of the silver screen, elevating film above radio and television in his 2018 overhaul of the propaganda apparatus. To discuss the special place of film in China’s global soft power push, back in March Louisa and Graeme were joined by City University of New York’s Ying Zhu and Variety Magazine’s Beijing bureau chief Rebecca Davis:

Little Red Podcast

Viral Disruption

How the Covid pandemic is rewriting the global order

An episode of the Little Red Podcast

COVID-19 isn't just destroying economies, it's also reshaping the global order.  In less than a month, the novel coronavirus has moved from being China's Chernobyl to being an advertisement for China’s brand of governance. As Western governments, in particular the US, fail to grapple with this enormous public health challenge, China is presenting itself as the world’s saviour.  Beijing's multipronged approach includes using facemask diplomacy donating medical equipment to the West, while its diplomats try to sow doubt about whether the outbreak began in Wuhan. To discuss the geopolitics of COVID-19 against the backdrop of deteriorating US-China relations, we’re joined by Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group and G-ZERO Media, and host of the podcast “GZERO World with Ian Bremmer”, as well as Bill Bishop, the founder of the Sinocism China newsletter, and Simon Rabinovitch, the Economist’s Shanghai-based correspondent:

Little Red Podcast

Cashing in on Social Credit

The state and commercial agendas of China’s proposed social credit system

AN EPISODE OF THE LITTLE RED PODCAST

By 2020, less than half a year from now, a social credit scheme will cover people and companies across China, “allowing the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” It’s long been assumed the Chinese state would take the lead, but favored companies will doubtless profit from a database that will house every citizen’s tax records, criminal history, traffic offenses, family background and marriage details. There are signs these companies are likely to export a surveillance-for-profit regime to other regimes keen to keep a close eye on their people. To ask whether China’s future looks like Lei Feng, Black Mirror or Dave Egger’s The Circle, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Gladys Pak Lei Chong and David Kurt Herold of Hong Kong Baptist University. ∎

Little Red Podcast

Post-Umbrella Hong Kong

Post-Umbrella Hong KongLessons, jail and resignation in the wake of the 2014 protests

AN EPISODE OF THE LITTLE RED PODCAST

Hate mail, death threats and shadowy surveillance are facts of life for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, five years after the Umbrella movement brought a million people onto the streets calling for greater democracy. Since then, 48 legal cases have been brought against 32 different activists, often on colonial-era public order offences. Louisa and Graeme are joined by two leaders of the Umbrella Movement to talk about jail, democracy and political repression. They are Chan Kinman, one of the co-founders of Occupy Central, who faces a verdict in his trial with eight others on April 8, and Nathan Law, the disqualified lawmaker from the Demosisto Party, who is also one of Hong Kong’s first political prisoners. ∎