Implications for China’s Soft Power under Xi Jinping

Written by Kingsley Edney. Soft power has become a popular concept in China. When Hu Jintao mentioned soft power in his report to the 2007 National Party Congress he ignited an explosion of scholarly work on soft power and ensured that officials all around the country would take the concept seriously. As Hu’s administration promoted …

Is Chairman Xi taking China back to the Cultural Revolution?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. Before considering today’s parallels with the Cultural Revolution, first let’s deal with the characterization of China’s current leader as Xi Zedong, or if you prefer, Mao Jinping. Accusations of a Xi personality cult are accumulating, and incidents like last month’s poetic outpouring by Xinhua News deputy director Pu Liye provide compelling evidence. …

The Rise of Chinese Soft Power in Africa

Written by Adams Bodomo. Is there Chinese soft power in Africa, and how does this compare with American soft power? Most people often begin discussion on soft power with the definition first put forth by American scholar, Joseph Nye. For me, soft power comprises the positive socio-political and socio-cultural influences a polity and its citizens have …

Soft Power on the Defensive: The Contradictions of Chinese Foreign Policy

Written by James F. Paradise. China’s soft power offensive has not been fully effective. One reason is that many outsiders find it difficult to buy into Chinese values because of political repression, cultural chauvinism and bad pollution in China. Another reason is that some activities in the military and economic spheres are starting to give …

Confucius Institutes and the limits of attraction

Written by Falk Hartig. By late 2015, 500 Confucius Institutes (hereafter CIs) had been established around the world and the number of Confucius Classrooms at primary and secondary schools has reached 1,000. While one has to treat those official numbers with some caution (apparently not all institutes counted in Beijing may already be in operation and …

Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream and Soft Power

Written by Jan Servaes. The former dean of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Joseph Nye, introduced the concept of soft power in 1990. In a subsequent publication he argued that culture, political values and foreign policies have become new dimensions for international relations, which are not directly dependent on the hard power of …

Confusing Public Diplomacy and Soft Power

Written by Barry Buzan. There is little doubt that in relation to its size, wealth, and culture, China underperforms in the area of soft power, is conscious of that weakness, and wants to improve its performance (Li, 2008). Soft power is about the non-coercive ability to change the preferences of others, to make them want …

Soft Power by Accident? Food for Thought from a Chinese Dating Show

Written by Wanning Sun. If You Are the One (ITATO hereafter, or Feicheng Wurao in Chinese) is a hugely popular dating show from Jiangsu Satellite TV, a provincial Chinese television station based in Nanjing. Started in 2010, the show has also been bought and screened by numerous television networks, including in countries such as Korea, …

China, Soft Power, and the Politics of Attraction

Written by Todd H. Hall. Possibly no concept to emerge from the field of international relations in the past several decades has been quite as influential within policymaking circles as that of “soft power.” And the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been no exception to this trend. No less than the General Secretary of the Communist Party …

The true nature of Xi Jinping’s power

Written by Kerry Brown. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was fond of using a simple drawing of what he called a `duck-rabbit’. From one angle, it looked like a rabbit’s head. But when an observer looked at it a little longer the ears came to resemble beaks, and the whole picture looked like a duck facing …