Xi’s Internet: China’s new normal online reality

Written by David Kurt Herold. During the decade long reign of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao over the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Internet flourished and Chinese netizens began to have a measurable effect on both internal and external politics. Foreign researchers repeatedly argued that the Internet was functioning as a precursor to the …

China: (not) talking about a revolution

Written by Mark Beeson. Fifty years ago on May 16 the Cultural Revolution began. Don’t expect this event to be given much attention in China itself, though. The reality is that despite Mao Zedong’s continuing iconic status, his successors in China’s ruling elite don’t know quite how to deal with his legacy. It’s not hard …

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. …

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 …

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 End of “Reform and Opening”?: New Political Paradigms and China’s Future.

Written by Matthew Johnson. If the narrative of “reforming and opening” China has run its course, what new narrative will replace it? The past week has yielded several important clues in this regard, pointing to the emergence of two new frameworks that we might call “Xi-ist” China and “ideological” China. Xi-ist China is a narrative of political …

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 …

Home, values and democracy: Explaining the rise in Taiwanese identification

Written by J. Michael Cole. The trend began several years ago, and no matter how hard the current government in Taipei and the one in Beijing try to convince them otherwise, with propaganda and sweeteners, there was no stopping it: more and more Taiwanese people identify as Taiwanese rather than Chinese. Several demographic factors have …

Why doesn’t China want any more ‘weird’ buildings?

Written by Yue Zhuang and Feng Qing. The Chinese State Council is seeking to curtail the construction of “oversized, xenocentric, weird” architecture. This kind of “weird” architecture first appeared in China after further economic liberalisationin the 1990s. Today, examples include the National Theatre, the Olympic Centre and the China Central Television Tower, among many others. As …