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 …

China: building soft power by contributing to global governance

Written by Ingrid d’Hooghe. Although the words ‘soft power’ and ‘public diplomacy’ figure less in Chinese leaders’ speeches and government reports these days, China is as focused as ever on building soft power and improving its international image. China’s public diplomacy however, seems to be shifting its priorities from promoting Chinese culture as the major source …

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’. …

China’s Rising Economic Soft Power

Written by John Wong. Shortly after consolidating his power to become China’s only real “strong man” since Deng Xiaoping, President Xi Jinping promised national rejuvenation to realize his “Chinese dream”. Externally, Xi has been pursuing an active foreign policy to elevate China’s international standing. The main thrust of Xi’s foreign policy is to cultivate “good-neighbourly relations” with …

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 …