China has unveiled a 60-second promotional video in New York's Times Square just before its president, Hu Jintao, makes a state visit to the United States.
The video is called "Experience China,'' and its features basketball superstar Yao Ming, piano virtuoso Lang Lang and Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei along with ordinary Chinese people.
Massive images are flashed on six screens hung on two sides of a building framed in China's traditional red color. China is hoping the video will help raise its image as being a prosperous, developing, democratic and progressive nation.
Chinese state media says the video will be shown 300 times a day for the next month and will air on the U.S. cable television news network CNN through February 13. As the images were first displayed Monday in New York's Times Square, some passing by were impressed.
"It's a great video. If I would have put the video together, I would love a little more specifics about who those people were. And a little more education for us, as to how we can get to know those people and Chinese culture and industry," said a man passing by.
"It is very moving because it is showing different people and their fields of interest, where they work and I think it could be inspirational in a way,'' said a woman.
In addition to famous Chinese personalities, the video includes a 71-year-old woman who has adopted nearly 20 orphans from 10 ethnic groups in China's Uygur Autonomous Region.
Jason Shen, chief executive producer of the video, says it took him and his staff nearly two months to finish the video clip meant to portray a panorama of Chinese citizens.
Richard Burger is a public relations consultant who focuses on Chinese media. He says such ad campaigns by China tend to short lived."China does deserve to be looked on as a superpower. But when their policies go against their message of being benevolent, and kind and a friend to the world, when they do commit human rights violations, it is very, very fast that the public forgets the ads, and all they remember, all they see are the much more dramatic facts of China's human rights record," he said.
He says videos like the one now being shown in the United States have a limited impact in affecting overall attitudes toward China. "I am not convinced that the ad campaign can be effective only because Americans tend to be cynical. They tend to be critical of what they see in the media. I think most thinking Americans are going to be curious more than anything," he said.
President Barack Obama is rolling out the red carpet for President Hu in just the third state visit Obama has hosted. The leaders of India and Mexico were also treated to state visits. China had eagerly sought a state visit for Hu, who was granted only an "official" visit by President George W. Bush in 2006 that included a lunch instead of a black-tie dinner.
Obama does face some risk in hosting a full state visit with persistent and precarious issues lingering between the United States and China including currencies, North Korea and military ties.