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 soft power of President Xi’s UK state visit

Written by Astrid Nordin. Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK has come to an end, and both sides can give a sigh of relief. President Xi’s appearances at Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Manchester City football ground all ran smoothly. Activists protesting against Chinese human rights abuses were there as expected, but were largely …

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 …

Confucius Institutes and China’s ‘soft power’

Written by James F. Scotton. Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government’s language and cultural centres hosted by universities throughout the world, are facing increasing academic resistance in the west. The Institutes, first launched in 2004, have been a remarkable success. By 2011 there were more than 400 Confucius Institutes plus an equal number of Confucius Classrooms in …

Chinese Language and Beijing’s Public Diplomacy

Written by Sheng Ding. The political effects of language acquisition, culture exchange, and education contact are important in respect to soft power appeal, and have received growing attention from policy-makers around the world. Indeed, those who will be impacted most by the appeal of a country’s soft power are the people who can speak its language …

The Soft Power of Local Elections

Written by Stefan Braig. One of the core elements of Taiwan’s soft power and public diplomacy is its self-portrayal as the beacon of democracy among ethnic Chinese societies. While for the green camp, democracy is something that sets Taiwan apart from China, for the ruling KMT democracy is what makes Taiwan a model for future …

Reflections on the Transformation of CCTV Documentary

Written by Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley. When looking at China’s soft power mechanism, much study has focused on the PRC’s rigorous international expansion of media outlets in the twenty-first century. Indeed it is worth noting that since the Chinese government announced its ‘going out’ policy in 2001 many new international platforms in different shapes and forms have …

CCTV and the race for soft power

Written by Xiaoling Zhang. The Chinese official media outlets, especially the “Big Four” as Yang Jiechi the State Councillor calls them — Xinhua News Agency, Central China Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and China Daily — are making substantial efforts to increase China’s influence in the world as an instrument of China’s grander soft power engagement. …