BRICS| Strategizing for Creative Industries in China: Contradictions and Tension in Nation Branding
This article explores how China has strategized its various creative industries, including music, film, animation, and online games, by implementing a top-down cultural policy for nation branding both domestically and internationally. Based on in-depth interviews with Chinese authorities and personnel at different levels in the industries, I discuss the cultural, political, and social contradictions that are created and reflected by the state-driven cultural policy that regulates these creative industries. The dilemma created by the policy lies in the contradiction between the creative content generated by the industries and the censorship, control mechanism, and bureaucracy of the authoritarian regime. I argue that the state has adopted an interim solution in which it tolerates high levels of cultural influx and the localization of cultural products. The importation of global content with high market value can be regarded as a governmental strategy designed to fulfill market needs quickly and boost the creative national industries with expertise borrowed from overseas but without relaxing the ideological control over content.