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International relations

China’s 'ham-handed' PR moves hurt its global image

Canada, Australia and EU push back at Beijing over perceived hostage diplomacy

Chinese President Xi Jinping was hailed last year as the new keeper of the global economic order. This year he was denounced at Davos as a grave threat to freedom. (Nikkei montage/Reuters)

TAIPEI -- Over the past 20 years, China has leveraged its economic growth and practiced deft diplomacy to craft an image as a responsible member of the global community. More recently, the political chaos of the Donald Trump presidency and Brexit have made China appear to be a steadying presence in a changing world.

But over the past year, the Chinese Communist Party's handling of domestic and international affairs has eroded much of the goodwill it had built up, especially with middle powers such as Canada, Australia and the European Union. The party's missteps have not only undermined China's appeal among those that once viewed it as a counterweight to the U.S., but are also generating pushback.

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