Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a trek to China — his first official visit — last week, and closed out his Asia visit this week. It was an opportunity for the PR Train to kick in, showcasing the PM to the Chinese masses over an eight-day span.
Along the way, he made new fans in the Middle Kingdom, sat down with China President Xi Jinping, and met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Forbidden City — bringing back Trudeau’s childhood memories when he traveled there with his father at the age of 12.
A success it was, if you’re thinking from an image standpoint. Trudeau said the right things, he did the right things, and even the Chinese media fawned over the prime minister, giving him rock star treatment.
Take the Chongqing Morning Post, for example. In a lengthy article, the Post declared that Trudeau “has a beautiful face and is known as the best-looking Prime Minister in Canadian history.”
On the other hand, Canadian media who followed Trudeau on the trip was already familiar with the charisma and personality he portrays, and was more focused on his politics and the effect he had in G20 talks.
His daughter Ella-Grace was also part of the visit, proving that being photogenic is genetic. With family in tow, Trudeau used that message to wish that strong relationship and friendship between the two countries could be passed on from generation to generation.
Right from the start, Trudeau and his families received a very warm welcome upon arriving into China at the airport. The PM also used Chinese social media Weibo to his advantage, where he showed off a sense of humour by jokingly appreciating Premier Li Keqiang’s warm welcome for Ella-Grace and to also post pictures of his trip on the platform.
Of course, a visit to China’s capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Oh, and good photos, much like this one of Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire, and daughter taking a stroll on the historical landmark.
Then, as expected, the Canadian leader posted about the Great Wall visit on Weibo as well, receiving many views and thumbs up for his post. Most of Trudeau’s Chinese fans are female, who not only admire his charming smile but also his happy family.
One student on Weibo wrote: “He’s too handsome! He just signed my school uniform! Hahaha.”
During the visit, Trudeau also presented Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang two portrait medallions of Norman Bethune much like the medallion his father, then prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, presented to chairman Mao Zedong in 1973. It was a nice touch to connect the past and the present.
Of course, the trip certainly built a very positive and optimistic image of the Prime Minister to Chinese people. Taking selfies help, obviously — especially when he does it with fans who are wearing Toronto Raptors jerseys!
In the end, the visit by Trudeau can be seen as a successful public relation campaign, not only showing his understanding of the Chinese culture, but also leading to a successful step forward in the relationship between Canada and China. He certainly got the attention of a lot more people in China.