January 18th, 2011
02:23 PM ET

Think "China." Think... "stunning supermodels?"

Chinese president Hu Jintao is in Washington this week, and China has prepped the ground with a star-studded U.S. media blitz.

A 60-second promotional video (as seen here - apologies for the shaky camera) 
is airing on the super screens of New York City's Times Square. It will also air on U.S. television during Hu's three-day tour.  The spot features a slew of Chinese celebrities including basketball star Yao Ming, director John Woo, astronaut hero Yang Liwei and a bevy of Chinese beauties including actress Zhang Ziyi and supermodel Zhang Zilin.

Interestingly, it also features a selection of China's business elite including Netease CEO Ding Lei, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou. A comprehensive campaign "who's who" can be found here on the Baidu Beat blog.

So why the video diplomacy?

Not long ago, China emerged as a common adversary before the U.S. midterm elections. Political campaigns ran ads showing China stealing American jobs and benefiting from unbalanced trade deals.

There's also been growing concern about the rapid growth of China's military muscle.

China's "soft power" push this week has been in the works for months. According to the State Council Information Office, China began preparing the commercials last summer to promote a "prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious" image of China.

"We come in peace."  That seems to be the message Beijing wants to get across to Americans with the video spot... complete with superstar gloss.

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