Selling China in the South Pacific: is anyone buying?

Written by Graeme Smith. As the game show If You Are The One proves, soft power may emanate from China despite the Chinese government. Although contestants are told to avoid mention of “politics, religion, sex, pornography, violence, international relations or the Chinese government”, there are few vectors of influence the Chinese leadership are less comfortable with. …

All that Glitters is Not Gold: The Limits of China’s Soft Power

Written by Shogo Suzuki. China’s soft power offensive has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. In line with the ubiquitous narratives worrying about the West’s (inevitable) decline and the corresponding ‘rise of China’, many commentators have stated that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ‘charm offensive’ is the latest form of the ‘China threat’. …

The ‘Voluntary Fifty-Cent Army’ in Chinese Cyberspace

Written by Rongbin Han. On October 15, 2014, President Xi Jinping met and lauded Zhou Xiaoping and Hua Qianfang at the high-profile “Forum on Literature and Art” in Beijing, and encouraged them to produce more works with “positive energy” (zheng

From Cairo to Chongqing: Global vs. Local Histories of the Second Sino-Japanese War in the PRC

Written by Adam Cathcart and Wankun Li. Urged on by Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its arts, scholarship, and regional bureaucracies have gone into overdrive to shape a new version of China’s history during World War II. As the 3 September “Victory Day” march in Beijing approaches, the film The Cairo Declaration has …

China’s state media and the outsourcing of soft power

Written by Jichang Lulu. “Foreign shill,” muttered someone, while an Australian reporter addressed the head of the People’s Bank at a press conference. The Melbourne-based “fake foreign media” organisation she worked for had already made news two years before, when their correspondent at the 18th Party Congress got multiple chances to ask exquisitely phrased innocuous …

Bleak times for foreign media in China

Written by Raymond Li. China is the largest media market in the world, and therefore attracts many foreign media companies which flock into the country on the promise of lucrative returns. However, talking about the situation of foreign media in China is not an easy task, because the picture is not always clear cut as it appears …

Problems in Huallywood

Written by Zhan Zhang. Three years ago, the National Digital Film Industrial Park opened in Wuxi, not far from Shanghai, with the nickname “Huallywood” (Hua meaning China). It was viewed as “ushering in a new golden age of filmmaking in China” and “Huallywood” aimed to become a global digital film capital in China like its counterparts in the …

Taking stock of the Chinese blogosphere

Written by Shaohua Guo. “China is not yet a country that excels in the art of writing (shuxie, to express feelings and write), but the emergence of blogs …” In October 2002, Isaac Xianghui Mao wrote this on the homepage of CNBlog.org, China’s first online discussion forum about blogging technology and culture. Given that he has …

Mobile Film Projection in Socialist and Post-Socialist China

Written by Tina Mai Chen. The study of propaganda in socialist and post-socialist China generally focuses on the content and aesthetic conventions of specific genres of material including film, posters, and literature. Another area of scholarship attends to the political contexts that shape the production, circulation, and reception of propaganda. Less studied, but equally important …

From Holding up Half of Heaven to Learning How to Flirt

Written by Chris Berry. Amongst the most memorable commercial films on display at  the recently concluded Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy—for all the wrong reasons—was Pang Ho-Cheung (彭浩翔)’s Chinese-Hong Kong 2014 co-production, Women Who