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The Rise of China with Cultural Soft Power in the Age of Globalization



Culture has been exerting an even greater influence on China’s image construction and nation branding in today’s globalizing world. As “culture” is the core of Chinese soft power strategy, the concept of “soft power” has been redefined as “cultural soft power” in the Chinese context. Cultural instruments, including the Chinese language as well as traditional and popular cultures, are widely implemented as the “charm” tools to wield and project China’s soft power. Cultural diplomacy is also viewed as an effective way to promote an understanding of China’s ideals, support Chinese economic goals and enhance Chinese national security in subtle, wide-ranging, and sustainable ways. Although Chinese soft power is still in its “embryonic phase”, partly due to its close link to the country’s economic performance and huge market attraction as well as the disadvantages generated by the political and ideological issues, it has contributed greatly to expand China’s international influence and create a circle of like-minded allies on its periphery, in which process its increasing importance shall not be neglected.
Journal of Literature and Art Studies, May 2018, Vol. 8, No. 5, 763-778
doi: 10.17265/2159-5836/2018.05.006
The Rise of China with Cultural Soft Power in the Age of
WU You
School of Foreign Studies/ Center for Global Studies, Shanghai University
Culture has been exerting an even greater influence on China’s image construction and nation branding in today’s
globalizing world. As “culture” is the core of Chinese soft power strategy, the concept of “soft power” has been
redefined as “cultural soft power” in the Chinese context. Cultural instruments, including the Chinese language as
well as traditional and popular cultures, are widely implemented as the “charm” tools to wield and project China’s
soft power. Cultural diplomacy is also viewed as an effective way to promote an understanding of China’s ideals,
support Chinese economic goals and enhance Chinese national security in subtle, wide-ranging, and sustainable
ways. Although Chinese soft power is still in its “embryonic phase”, partly due to its close link to the country’s
economic performance and huge market attraction as well as the disadvantages generated by the political and
ideological issues, it has contributed greatly to expand China’s international influence and create a circle of
like-minded allies on its periphery, in which process its increasing importance shall not be neglected.
Keywords: Chinese culture, soft power, cultural influence, cultural diplomacy, globalization
Cultural influence, besides the continued momentum of economic growth and military strengthening,
becomes more and more important in an ever-increasingly interdependent and interconnected world, which
turns out to be a crucial factor in expanding China’s international influence today. With its spectacular
performance in economy, China realizes the need to play a greater international role and strengthen ties with
neighbouring countries by employing the cultural instruments. These cultural activities include, for instance,
establishing the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (1987, NOCFL), providing
Chinese-learning-related courses and programs by setting up Confucius Institutes all around the world,
improving its International Broadcasting service as well as holding great international events like Beijing
Olympics 2008 and the World Expo 2010, which all aims at building up a desired international image and
Culture is not an omnipotent factor, however, it plays an increasingly important role in shaping a nation’s
internal and external behaviours in today’s world. While China continues modernizing its economy at a rapid
pace, a tendency of attaching more importance to soft-power-oriented policies driven by cultural force is also
This paper is sponsored by the Major projects of the National Social Science Fund, “Chinese issues in Western literary theory
in the 20th century” (16ZDA194).
WU You is Associate Professor and Masters’ Supervisor in intercultural studies with the School of Foreign Studies, and a
research fellow at the Center for Global Studies, Shanghai University, China. She received her BA in English Literature and
Civilization from Nanjing University, MA and Ph. D. in European Civilization and Society from Université Paris Diderot-Paris
VII, France. Her research interest lies in the fields of intercultural studies and translation. Address: Shanghai University, 99
Shangda Road, Baoshan District, 200444, Shanghai, China. Email:
noticeable.1 Since the past decade, the idea of “soft power” has been widely discussed, embraced, and
appropriated in China. Application of cultural soft power is gradually recognized as an effective way to achieve
great power status, and culture is above all the core of Chinese soft power strategy.2
Redefining “Soft Power” with Chinese Cultural Connotations
First advocated by Joseph Nye in 1990, the concept of “soft power” derives from a simple dichotomy of
defining coercive power as hard power while attractive power as soft power, establishes a theoretical
framework for assessing the role and contribution of culture in post-cold war international relations.3 When
assessing soft power, Chinese scholars also adhere to the three parameters that Nye identifies, namely culture,
political values and foreign policy, whereas they propose a wider scope and different approach in the Chinese
discourse in the meantime.4
Culture as the Core: Retrospect and Prospect on “Soft Power” in China
The most notable of the Chinese features concerning this discourse is that Chinese scholars and policy
makers pay exceptional attention to the role of culture in the country’s soft power strategy in the same time as
they conform to Nye’s conceptual framework. Since its first introduction to China in the 1990s, the concept
“soft power” was closely linked to “culture”, which could possibly explain the distinctive importance that
“cultural factors” enjoy in the Chinese discourse. Wang Huning, then renowned professor at Fudan University
and now head of China Central Policy Research Office, published the first Chinese paper on soft power entitled
“Culture as National Power: Soft Power”5 in 1993, in which he set the tone of culture being the main source of
a state’s soft power for Chinese academics.
“Soft power” has been increasingly mentioned and rephrased as “cultural soft power” in the Chinese
academic writings as well as both official documents and popular newspapers and magazines since the past
decade. It is believed that the official sanction of the core role of culture in soft power was clinched in 2007,
when the term “cultural soft power” was included in the report to the Seventeenth National Congress of the
Communist Party of China.6 In 2017, the report to the Nineteenth CPC Congress, a guiding document on the
work of China for the future five years, claims that “culture is a country and nation’s soul” and states the
ambition of “building stronger cultural confidence and helping socialist culture to flourish”, with a special
emphasis on increasing China’s cultural soft power.7 Statically, according to a search result on the China
National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, currently the largest and most comprehensive of its kind
1 In the past several years, discussion and debates about what constitutes Chinese soft power and how China wields and projects
its soft power raised much concern among academics, and culture is one source that has been devoted much attention to. See, for
instance, Ding Sheng. The Dragon’s Hidden Wings: How China Rises with Its Soft Power. Plymouth, UK: Lexington Books, 2008;
Kurlantzick, Joshua. Charm Offensive: How China’s Soft Power Is Transforming the World. New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 2007; Li Mingjiang, ed. Soft Power: China’s Emerging Strategy in International Politics. Plymouth, UK: Lexington Books ,
2009; Wang Jian, ed. Soft Power in China: Public Diplomacy Through Communication. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
2 Guo Jiemin, “From State Soft Strength to International Soft Power: Directions and Approaches of Promoting Chinese Soft
Strength Construction,” p. 20.
3 See Nye, Joseph S. “Soft Power.” Foreign Policy, No. 80, (Autumn, 1990): pp.153-171.
4 Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power: the Means to Success in World Politics, p. 11.
5 See Wang Huning. “Zuowei Guojia Shili de Wenhua: Ruan Quanli” [Culture as National Power: Soft Power].Fudan Daxue
Xuebao [Journal of Fudan University] No. 3( 1993): pp. 23-28.
6 Carola McGiffert. “Chinese Soft Power and Its Implications for the United States: Competition and Cooperation in the
Developing World,” p.16.
7 Xi Jinping, “Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great
Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” (The Report Delivered at the 19th National Congress of the
Communist Party of China, English Version), October 18, 2017.
in China, 9,754 publications (articles in journals, periodicals and newspapers as well as a part of MA. and Ph. D.
dissertations included) in the social sciences and humanities sections of CNKI feature the term “soft power”8
in their titles from January 2004 to January 2018. Furthermore, 3,533 of the above mentioned titles explicitly
define this term as “cultural soft power”, which accounts for approximately one-third of the total numbers.
Compared with the search result of “null” before 2004 by conducting the same research, the surging popularity
of this term is undoubtedly epitomized.
“Cultural Soft Power” in the Chinese Discourses
Although the term “cultural soft power” stems from Nye’s concept, it is largely sinicized by underlining
its strong link with culture.9 Assessing the existing scholarly literatures and debates, the understandings of
Chinese scholars on “cultural soft power” fall into three major schools of thoughts.
First, some analysts accept the idea of “soft power” as the equivalent of culture, especially in the earlier
stage of research on this subject, attempting to explain this concept from the cultural perspective from the very
beginning. For instance, when introducing this concept to China, Wang Huning argues that culture is not only
the foundation for setting policies, but also a power to influence the public of other countries, which sets the
tone for this school of thoughts.10 The political report to the Sixteenth National Congress of CPC in 2002
adopted the same interpretation on this concept, pointing out that “culture intertwines with economics and
politics, demonstrating a more prominent position and role in the competition for comprehensive national
power” in today’s world.11 Nonetheless, the chief objection to this school of thoughts is its possibility to
mislead the public that the nation who possesses more cultural resources has necessarily stronger soft power.
Admittedly, all the cultural resources could not be applied as soft power, and some cultural practices might
even harm a nation’s soft power if the foreign audience finds them unappealing. Consequently, only when the
positive part of a nation’s cultural heritage plays an important role in building the national image or shaping
another country’s public opinion, could it be considered as a successful projection of national power.12 In short,
abundant cultural resources are the indispensable foundation instead of the guarantee of a nation’s soft power.
Second, a number of scholars are much concerned about the lack of competitiveness of Chinese cultural
products in international trade, therefore in their points of view, the cultural soft power equals to the
competitiveness of culture.13 Compared with the trade surplus in the industrial sector, Chinese cultural sector
and service sector suffer from huge trade deficit, lagging far behind both its Western counterparts and
neighbouring Japan and South Korea.14 As a result, this second school of thoughts often turns to the criticism
8 Three different Chinese versions of translation on the term “soft power”, namely ruan shili, ruan liliang, ruan quanli, are
equally included in the search.
9 See Zheng Yongnian and Zhangchi, “Soft Power in International Politics and the Implications for China,” pp. 6-12.
10 Wang Huning, “Culture as National Power: Soft Power,” pp. 23-28.
11 Jiang Zemin’s Report at 16th Party Congress on Nov 8, 2002.
12 Hu Jian, “Cultural soft power: China’s perspective,” p 5.
13 See, for instance, Hua Jian et al. Wenhuali: xianjin wenhua de neihan yu 21shiji zhongguo heping fazhan de wenhua dongli [Cultural
Power: Progressive Cultural Connotation and Cultural Force for Peaceful Development in the 21st Century]. Shanghai: Shanghai
wenyi chubanshe [Shanghai Literature and Art Press], 2006; Tian Feng, Xiao Haipeng and Xiahui. Wenhua jingzhengli yanjiu yanjiu
[A Study on the Cultural Competitiveness]. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe [China Social Sciences Press], 2007.
14 For instance, taking the import and export of television programmes as an example, according to China Statistical Yearbook
2015 released by National Bureau of Statics, the annual import in 2014 amounts to 2,090,240,000RMB, while the total export
only amounts to 272, 260,000RMB. See also the warn of China’s deficit in “cultural trade” with West in Hu Jian, “‘Zhongguo
zeren’ yu heping fazhan daolu” [China’s Responsibilities and the Road of Peaceful Development], Xiandai Guoji Guanxi
[Contemporary International Relations], No. 7 (July 2007): pp. 43-7; Zhu Chunyang, “Zhongguo ‘wenhua nicha’ jige fansi”
[Several Reflections on “Cultural Deficit” in China], Renmin luntan [People’s Tribune] (July 2012): pp. 70-71.
of “cultural imperialism” and advocacy of increasing the country’s cultural competitiveness by developing
cultural industry. Their concerns are mainly based upon the standpoint that China is on the front lines of
marginalization by Western cultural business juggernauts, especially by the predominant position of the United
States.15 Although strengthening the cultural competitiveness is of great urgency in China, excessive
highlighting on the significance of cultural competitiveness in the framework of soft power sometimes conveys
misleading information to the international community that China aims at seizing the strategic high ground in
international cultural market, which, to a great extent, has been used as the evidence to depict China as a threat.
Third, still some analysts occasionally internalize political value as a component of a nation’s culture, thus
hold that political value could directly serve as cultural soft power.16 Also argued is that foreign policy is a
source of China’s soft power.17 Nonetheless, this school of thought has not been endorsed by the majority of
scholars and policy-makers in China, for political value is an ideologically-loaded term that can cause an
argument just by being uttered. The core of political value is political ideology, which has strong class nature
and could by no means be shared by another country or party. Culture is an attractive source that can contribute
to the global civilization and be appreciated by the public of other countries, while political value is a coercive
power that is highly exclusive. As a result, it is largely inappropriate to include political value in the framework
of cultural soft power.
Reinterpreting “Cultural Soft Power” with Chinese Cultural Connotations
In view of the existing scholarly literatures on the question of how soft power should be defined in the
Chinese context, it is not difficult to understand that culture is the core of Chinese soft power, among which
traditional Chinese culture is singled out as the most valuable source. With this in mind, the argument is that
the concept of soft power has been redefined with Chinese cultural connotations from three regards.
First, traditional Chinese culture appreciates moralism and humanism, which stresses “gaining respects
through virtue” and “giving priority to human beings”. For instance, Confucianism points out in The Analects
(Lunyu) that a king’s way to rule should rely on moral force instead of physical force, believing that the
benevolent governance (Wangdao) will triumph over the hegemonic governance (Badao). These values,
inherent in traditional Chinese culture found in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and other classics, are fully
embodied in the concept of “Harmony”, which serve as the basis of special Chinese cultural appeal in an era of
cultural diversification and globalization.18
Second, Golden Mean (Zhongyong), a profound philosophical tradition in Chinese thinking and statecraft
that treasures the value of equilibrium, demonstrates the inclusiveness of Chinese cultural soft power. The
practice of Mean is Chinese tradition in managing interstate relations since ancient times. As Chen Jianfeng
contends that the wisdom of Mean can provide Chinese leadership with the intellectual capacity to approach
major international issues in a balanced way, which turns out to be China’s contribution to world stability and
prosperity, the same way as the notion of democracy contributed by Europe and the United States.19
Third, propriety, a concept advocating that people should follow the conventional rules in society, is also
at a very important position in the traditional Chinese culture. China has always been known as a land of
15 Ni Xun, “CPPCC National Committee Members Discuss How to Strengthen Cultural Soft Power.”
16 Jia Leilei, “Major Components of National Cultural Soft Power”; Yan Xuetong, “The Core of Soft Power is Political Power”.
17 Zhao Lei, “Increase of China’s Soft Power Raises Attention,” pp. 45-46.
18 Li Mingjiang, “China Debates Soft Power,” p. 292.
19 Chen Jianfeng, “The Practice of the Mean: China’s Soft Power Cultivation,” pp. 84, 98.
propriety and righteousness, and this tenet of propriety is also the core value of Confucianism, which partly
explains China’s tradition of resorting more to soft power instead of hard power from a historical approach.
Cultural Diplomacy to Develop an Understanding of China’s Ideals
Cultural diplomacy, according to one accepted definition, is the cultivation by governments of public
opinion in other nations by utilizing cultural attraction, through which states can more effectively pursue their
national interests. One major ambition of a country’s cultural diplomacy strategy is to project soft power.
Today, cultural activities are frequently utilized to develop the world’s understanding of China’s ideals, and the
major ways of application fall into three categories:
Chinese Language as a “Charm” Tool
As China cements ties with the rest of the world, especially the developing countries, with its growing
economic performance, interest in Chinese language and culture has correspondently grown. Since the past
decade, the Chinese government has played an impressive role in promoting both, with the most remarkable
success being the establishment and swift proliferation of the Confucius Institutes across the world.
From the establishment of National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) in 1987,
to the setting up of the first Confucius Institute in Seoul, South Korea in 2004, the Chinese government
initiated the cultural activities for providing Chinese-related courses and programmes all around the world.
According to the statistics of Confucius Institute Headquarters, until the end of 2015, more than 500 Confucius
Institutes and 1,000 Confucius Classrooms have been established in 134 countries under the guidance of the
Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) so far. They have become great actors in teaching
Chinese language, promoting cultural exchanges, facilitating business activities and boosting Chinese studies
The establishment of the Confucius Institutes worldwide has been observed as one of China’s attempts to
build up its soft power through cultural diplomacy.20 In most cases, Confucius Institutes are established
through a partnership between two academic institutions, one foreign and one Chinese; for example, the
Confucius Institute at Phuket is a collaboration between Prince of Songkla University in Thailand and Shanghai
University in China. Sometimes, more than two universities or institutions may be involved as partners in
setting up of an institute. The influence of Confucius Institutes as a diplomatic approach is highly appreciated
by Chinese Leadership. For instance, during the trip to the UK on October 22nd 2015, President of China Xi
Jinping attended the Annual meeting of the British Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, and he
delivered a speech on its opening ceremony, wishing that Confucius could help China connect with ordinary
British people. Generally speaking, Confucius Institute Project is a success, which helps create the impression
among foreign public of a kinder and gentler China. The best way of evaluation is to consider this project as “a
type of impression management, an endeavour by China to craft a positive image of itself in a world fraught
with danger”.21
20 Zhang Yongjin, “The Discourse of China’s Soft Power and Its Discontents,” p. 51.
21 James F. Paradise, “China and International Harmony: The Role of Confucius Institutes in Bolstering Beijing’s Soft Power,” p.
Besides the systematic language promotion activities undertaken by Confucius Institutes, celebrity effect
is also an alternative to demonstrate the charm of Chinese language and culture. Chinese President Xi Jinping, a
widely respected leader with special charisma in today’s China, is a keen promoter of Chinese language and
culture himself. He frequently cites Chinese classics in his speeches and writings, and skilfully uses traditional
Chinese culture as a charming diplomatic instrument, especially when communicating with Asian leaders who
share the similar cultural heritage. In a recent family dinner hosted by Xi as Party chief to welcome visiting
Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on February 18, 2014, he
prepared a Shaanxi cuisine dinner, for both leaders have roots in this region. BiangBiang Noodles, a local
delicacy was presented in the dinner. Given the word Biang (See picture above) is one of the most complicated
Chinese characters, Xi wrote down this character in a little note and presented to Lien, which was an intelligent
gesture to “charm” his cross-straits counterpart by resorting to the power of traditional Chinese culture, trying
to raise the consciousness of the target audience on the same root that mainland China and Taiwan share.
Mass Media to Project Soft Power
Perceiving the dominant role of Western media, Chinese analysts also believe that capability and
effectiveness in mass communications are important aspects of a state’s soft power.22 As a result, China
becomes increasingly keen to have its voice heard and continues improving its international broadcasting
service over the past years, with the goals of “airing its views, enhancing the country’s global influence, and
showcasing its rise as a great power in a nonthreatening and nonconfrontational manner”.23 The role of
mass-communication will be analysed from two respects.
Internationally, the establishment and development of CCTV International channels are good examples to
demonstrate China’s ambition for competing with Western counterparts and reaching out to the foreign public.
First established in October 1992, CCTV-4 is the first international channel in Mandarin aiming at overseas
Chinese audience, especially those in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. In 2000, CCTV expanded its service
and launched a 24-hours English Channel. It further established the E&F Channel (Spanish and French) in 2004,
replaced in 2007 with separate services for both languages, and followed by CCTV-Arabic and CCTV-Russian
in 2009, with a plan to launch CCTV-Portuguese in the near future. Since its inception, CCTV international
channels aim at telling China’s story to foreign audience and expanding the country’s global influence. Among
all the programs provided, culture-related programs are most welcome. According to a survey conducted
around the time that China held Beijing Olympics, foreign viewers were more likely to switch to CCTV
International to learn Mandarin or to watch programs about Chinese history and culture rather than for news.24
In a stage of lack of competitiveness in reporting affairs non-related to China, Chinese culture has been
projected through these channels as the major attraction to influence foreign public.
Domestically, one impressive move taken by the Chinese government is its recent efforts in discouraging
English formation and reviving public interest in traditional Chinese culture by promulgating strict regulations
22 Li Mingjiang, “China Debates Soft Power”, p. 294.
23 Zhang Xiaoling, “China’s International Broadcasting: A Case Study of CCTV International,” p. 57.
24 Ibid., pp. 63-64.
on national media. China has been wary of the infiltration of English language in the recent years, although the
trend of Westernization of languages is probably part of globalization, a number of policy-makers and scholars
hold that economic openness shouldn’t sacrifice cultural traditions. From April 2010, in line with a government
directive after several national legislators and political advisors called for the preservation of the Chinese
language’s purity, the government announced a ban on the use of borrowed English acronyms such as NBA,
GDP, WTO, CPI BBC, WTO, NATO and F1 in all TV programs. This move resonates with the view of George
Orwell, well-known English writer and social critic, that “never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a
jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent”25. While some doubts have also been raised to
challenge this move by mentioning that “English seems never to refuse imported words”, the mainstream public
opinion embraced the government’s stance by emphasizing the importance of protecting the language purity as
a tool for preserving the nation’s overall strength.26 Meanwhile, TV talent show programs switch their interest
from pure entertainment to Chinese-culture-related competition, with the most remarkable example being the
success of a program entitled “Chinese Characters Dictation Congress”(Zhongguo Hanzi tingxie dahui).
Launched in 2013 by CCTV, this program organizes a competition among young students from all over the
country (some students from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan are also included), intending to raise audience’s
interest in learning Chinese language and culture, so as to ensure cultural heritage preservation.
Cultural Activities as Promoters of National Image
Many cultural and sport activities, such as holding great international events like Beijing Olympics 2008
and the World Expo 2010 as well as encouraging cultural exchanges initiated by both the state and non-state
actors, are also believed to be good ways to build up a desired international image and reputation.
As perhaps the most influential event held by China, the government seized on the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games as an opportunity to present a new China to both its citizenry and the world. Superbly choreographed by
the film director Zhang Yimou, the opening ceremony presented an impressive and somehow lavish spectacle
infused with colour, symbolic meaning, and reminders of China’s historical fascination, which was an effort to
project China’s national soft power.27 The Beijing Olympic slogan is “One World, One Dream,” which
promotes the very idea of harmonious coexistence despite differences, as expressed in the “harmonious society”
concept first put forward by Hu Jintao in 2005. Proclaimed as a “century old dream” (bainian mengxiang) of
the Chinese people, this event expresses Chinese people’s eagerness for the global recognition of their
achievements and progress.28
Various activities are also organized for promoting the national image abroad. For instance, Chinese and
French governments organized Les Années Chine-France, a series of cultural exchange activities between two
countries from 2003 to 2005, followed by another event called Festival Croisements launched in 2006. The
latter is a platform to encourage cultural exchanges between Chinese and French artists, which has already
entered its 9th year. In 2007, China sent its Qin Dynasty terra cotta army warriors to the exhibition at the British
Museum, as the result of “years of diplomacy” and efforts to improve cultural relations between China and
25 George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”.
26 Li Shigong, “Will Banning Foreign Abbreviations Help?”
27 Michael Keane, “Keeping Up with the Neighbors: China’s Soft Power Ambitions,” p. 130.
28 Pang Zhongying, “The Beijing Olympics and China’s Soft Power”; See more discussion on China’s image building through
Olympics, see Jeroen de Kloet, Gladys Pak Lei Chong, and Stefan Landsberger, “National Image Management Begins at Home:
Imagining the New Olympic Citizen,” in Soft Power in China: Public Diplomacy Through Communication, pp. 117-33.
Britain. Pandas have also been an important symbol of Chinese diplomatic efforts to both cross-straits and
foreign public, the latest event is sending up a pair of pandas, Xinghui and Haohao, to Belgium, expecting to
charm Belgians with the furry gifts.
Cultural Soft Power to Bolster China’s Quest for Regional Leadership
With the growing integration of its economy with the region, China has stressed on multilateralism,
economics, and its “cultural soft power” advantages in relations with Asian neighbours. Regionally, China is
seen as a threatening competitor by Japan and India and a rising power with an uncertain future by Southeast
Asian neighbours. The goal of China in the region is to play an indispensable role and exercise increasing
influence in the regional affairs, while in the meantime compete with Japan, balance the force of US and
marginalize the influence of Taiwan.
Culture as a Strategic Opportunity to “lock in” Its Interest and Influence in the Region
China’s ancient history and traditional culture have been utilized as a valuable source of soft power for
attracting its East Asian neighbours with whom China shares a Confucian heritage.29 Perhaps Chinese ideology,
culture, and other aspects of soft power have been facing more challenges in their seeking of appealing to
foreign community, whereas its cultural heritage is an effective tool to win friends and influence opinion in
nearby Asia.30
Named after Confucius, the most influential intellectual ever in China, the name of Confucius Institute
itself is great attraction to China’s Asian neighbours, especially the countries where many Chinese descendants
live, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Promoting Confucianism is not part of their remit, as
commented by Economist, China uses Confucius “as a Father-Christmas-like symbol of avuncular Chineseness
rather than as the proponent of a philosophical outlook”.31 Sinosphere (Hanzi wenhua quan), also called the
“Chinese-character cultural circle”, refers to the nations and districts that use Chinese characters or once used
Chinese characters and has inherited Chinese-character tradition. This circle coincides with today’s Eastern and
Southeastern Asian countries, including China’s major regional competitor Japan. For instance, the Singapore
government has been promoting Mandarin Chinese as a way to reduce inter-ethnic barriers among
dialect-speaking Chinese and cement greater ties across Southeast Asia.32 By resorting to culture, China’s
endeavour in exercising soft power in this region attempts intentionally to remind foreign public of the same
cultural root that they share, and culture contributes great power to increase the country’s regional influence in
Meanwhile, the cultural instruments are also believed to be an ideal approach to limit the influence of
Taiwan in the region. In view of the linguistic relations between Taiwan and Mainland China, they both have
the same spoken language, but have different writing systems. The Confucius Institutes worldwide only teach
the simplified form of Chinese instead of the classical characters used in Taiwan. As a person’s choice of
language is of paramount importance to his/her identity construction, the relationship between language
learning, political identity and boundary drawing is undoubtedly complicated, with significant political
29 Chen Yugang, “Build China’s Soft Power within the Context of Globalization,” p. 38.
30 Robert Sutter, “Why Does China Matter?” p. 76.
31 “China’s Confucius Institutes: Rectification of Statues”.
32 Michael Barr, Who’s afraid of china? The Challenge of Chinese Soft Power, p. 72.
implications to other Asian countries.33 Confucius Institutes are believed to contribute to support China’s quest
for regional leadership by projecting national power in a gentler and subtler way and “to serve to advance
China’s foreign policy goal of marginalizing Taiwan’s international influence.”34
Nonetheless, due to deep historical grievances and continuing contemporary conflicts, it can be imagined
that China’s “charm offensive” would hardly work on Japan. China has adopted a two-pronged stance in
tackling Sino-Japan relation, which is essential to the regional stability. From the perspective of
interdependence, China acts on the assumption that “interdependence would restrain a Japanese response”35;
while from the perspective of rivalry, taking Japan as the major regional rival and pushing Japan to accept a
dominant China is its primary goal.
Cultural Activities to Liaison with “Good Neighbours”
At the turn of the century, there has been a subtle re-orientation of Chinese diplomacy from bilateral
relations with great powers, to multilateralism, with an ambition of attaching more importance to neighbouring
states.36 For this end, a diplomatic strategy entitled “Good Neighbour Policy” (Mulin youhao zhengce) is
advocated by the Chinese Government to establish good relations with neighbouring countries in Asia. Amid a
comprehensive approach to carry out this strategy, cultural activities have always been considered as a major
component to liaison with “good neighbours”.
In Southeast Asia, the ASEAN plus China mechanism is a well-functioned platform for China to project
its soft power. In retrospect, China left with the ASEAN states somehow negative impression because of its
support to the communist parties in several countries as well as the negative impact on ASEAN economy
brought by its cheap exports. However, efforts have been made by China to alleviate the historical negative
impression by joining the dialogue mechanism in 1994 and proposing the concept of an ASEAN-China Free
Trade Area (FTA) in 2001. More cultural interactions have been encouraged ever since the establishment of the
effective dialogue mechanism between China and ASEAN, among which Chinese outbound tourism plays an
important role in supporting ASEAN economy, projecting a favourable national image as well as demonstrating
its capabilities, wealth, confidence and determination to the region. The ASEAN member countries, such as
Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, are favoured destinations for Chinese self-paid outbound tours,
which contribute to the increasing Chinese tourist arrivals to this region. Tourism is therefore believed to have
played an important role in China’s quest for regional leadership. Compared with the direct financial aid,
tourism not only provides “aid” in a subtler way, but also contributes to publicize an image of a prosperous
China and the stability of the Chinese currency, boosting national confidence and effectively refute the “China
Threat Theory”.37 This tourism effect also applies to Taiwan and Singapore.
For Central Asia and Russia, since the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in
mid-2001, the “Shanghai Spirit” embodies mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, peaceful bargaining and
respect for differences as guiding principles of intercourse of the SCO.38 The cultural interaction between
China and central Asia has a long history, which can trace back to the cultural exchanges via ancient Silk Road
33 Ibid., pp. 72-4.
34 Bates Gill and Yanzhong Huang, “Sources and Limits of Chinese ‘Soft Power’,” p. 18.
35 Leszek Buszynski, “Sino-Japanese Relations: Interdependence, Rivalry and Regional Security,” p. 162.
36 Chien-peng Chung, “The “Good Neighbour Policy” in the Context of China’s Foreign Relations,” p. 113.
37 Fan Shih-Ping, “The Effects of China’s Tourism Diplomacy and a ‘United Front’ ,” pp. 271-2.
38 “Declaration on Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization”.
more than 2000 years ago. In the comprehensive cooperative framework of SCO, with whose name itself being
a successful image projection of China, a mechanism of annual meeting of culture ministers is established to
promote cultural exchanges and cooperation. As a member state, China skilfully makes the most of this
platform to connect with its central-Asia neighbours. The signing on 16 August 2007 of the “Intergovernmental
agreement on cooperation” in the field of culture has further pushed the cultural interaction to reach a new level.
Supported and sponsored by SCO, a number of cultural activities have been organized, such as the project of
“Children Paint Tales” and “2013 Europe-Asia Children Culture and Art Exchange Week” held in Hangzhou
by the China Association for Children’s Art. Furthermore, SCO University, operating as a network of existing
universities in member states, envisages even broader cultural exchanges, and a list of more than twenty
universities in China has joined this network.
Regional Contest: From Pax Americana to Pax Sinica?
Over the past decade, both Chinese soft power and economic performance is on the rise, hence a number
of analysts argue that China’s rise is coming at the same time of the declining influence of the United States.
Partly due to over-emphasis on the war against terror and the companying changes in its foreign policy, the
declining influence of US is believed to have left a power vacuum in Asia, from which China’s soft power
strategy has benefited greatly. 39
The success of China’s performance in economy, modernization in society as well as the expansion of
cultural soft power has led to the talk by foreign observers of a “Beijing consensus”, a term coined by Joshua
Ramo. “Beijing consensus” is a distinctive Chinese-style development philosophy based upon socialist values,
which challenges the “Washington consensus,” a set of liberal values based on Western experience and
interests.40 It refers to China’s model of development, which are overwhelmingly conceptualized as a process
of China’s peaceful rise by Chinese academics. China’s foreign policy aims at reassuring others of its
nonthreatening intent, enhancing its acceptance by the international community, and realigning the international
environment to its liking, and it is with these goals in mind that the instruments of soft power are conceived and
pursued.41 For instance, with the states in China’s neighbourhood of northeast Asia, China intends to maintain
close economic relations with South Korea and Japan. The essential attraction from China is a huge market for
the exports of South Korea and Japan. As Lee, an Korean professor, points out, in the process of regional
contest, “China would try to pull Korea away from the US while the US tries to keep Korea within its own
remote-front-yard”, and he further argues that “Korea will be increasingly attracted to China in the future
unless the US fully recovers its economic vitality”.42
Cultural diplomacy, together with the slogan of “China’s peaceful rise”, helps alleviate fears and reduce
the likelihood of other countries allying to balance a rising power.43 As Paradise observes, “the purpose of the
soft power offensive is to spread Chinese values throughout the world and to project a more benign view of the
country, one that is unquestionably committed to a peaceful rise.”44 In this sense, there is a fear that China will
39 Zhou Ying, “Assessing China’s Soft Power Diplomacy and its Implications on Asia Cooperation”, p. 4.
40 Joshua Cooper Ramo, “The Beijing Consensus”.
41 Yong Deng, “The New Hard Realities: ‘Soft Power’ and China in Transition,” p. 69.
42 Geun Lee, “China’s Soft Power and Changing Balance of Power in East Asia,” p. 2.
43 See Joseph S. Nye, “The Rise of China's Soft Power,” Wall Street Journal Asia, December 29, 2005; Jean A. Garrison,
“China’s Prudent Cultivation of ‘Soft Power’ and Implications for U.S. Policy in East Asia,” Asian Affairs:An American Review
32, no. 1 (2005): 25-30.
44 James F. Paradise, “Can China’s Soft Power Offensive Succeed?”
change the status quo and challenge American world domination by resorting to its soft power strategy, which
leads to the talk of possibility from Pax Americana to Pax Sinica. However, compared with its enormous
economic achievements, China’s soft power is still in its “embryonic phase” and the competitiveness of its
structural strength is limited. In the meantime, soft power of the United States remains influential, and it is even
believed that U.S. “can easily out-charm China” in this stage.45
Challenges Ahead
As noted above, Chinese leadership has recognized the important role of soft power in achieving
comprehensive national power and embraced the mainstream academic viewpoint that culture is the core of its
soft power. Today, Chinese traditional culture still has a strong vitality and appeal, while the soft power theory
resonates exactly with the traditional Chinese culture, which could possibly explain the great popularity it
enjoys in China. Nonetheless, soft power, as expounded by Chinese analysts as well as foreign researchers, is
still in its “embryonic phase” in China’s pursuit of comprehensive national power, which is principally
perceived as a defensive source instead of a constructive force.46 China’s soft-power policy emphasizes culture,
and is largely ad hoc and primarily reactive, attempting mainly to defend from the China-threat perception.47
With this in mind, the major challenges concerning the role of cultural soft power in expanding China’s
regional influence fall into four categories:
“Reconstructing” Chinese Cultural Values
The major challenge faced by China is first and foremost in the phase of value reconstruction, because the
core traditional Chinese value, once influential in the world, had been suffering from a “deconstruction” by the
continuous foreign invasions and internal conflicts in modern Chinese history.
China’s current aspiration and drive to achieve great power status is dramatically shaped by its
“superiority-inferiority complex”.48 Despite the fact that China has rich cultural resources and a long history,
which are appealing in the eyes of many foreign nations, its modern history since 1840 was humiliating, full of
defeats, failures and trauma of being invaded and colonized. Particularly, in the period of the May Fourth
Movement (1919), “New Cultural Movement” launched by Chinese progressive intellectuals criticized many
negative aspects of traditional culture, believing that traditional Chinese culture could offer little to the outside
world due to its many backward aspects. Western thinking concerning democracy and science, which was
considered to be “superior”, dominated Chinese intelligentsia, while “inferior” traditional Chinese culture
turned to be “otherness”.
All those failures and humiliations have been deeply ingrained in the Chinese mentality and transformed
China from a role model for its neighbours to a humble imitator, which made modern China suffer from a
cultural “deconstruction”. In my point of view, China is now coming out of the century-long humiliations and
entering into a phase of regaining great power status and resetting models for its Asian neighbours. In this
regard, the emerging soft-power-oriented policies that China implements today is an endeavour of “cultural
reconstruction”, aiming at eliminating the image of “otherness” and building the new “self” for Chinese culture,
45 Fareed Zakaria, “The U.S. Can Out-Charm China”.
46 Li Mingjiang, “China Debates Soft Power”,288; Jiang Ling, “Construction of China’s Soft Power: Advantage, Deficiency and
Lifting Countermeasure,” p. 386.
47 See Bonnie S. Glaser and Melissa E. Murphy, “Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics: The Ongoing Debate,” pp. 10-26.
48 Deng Xiaogang and Zhang Lening, “China’s Cultural Exports and its Growing Cultural Power in the World,” p. 144.
so as to increase its global influence.
Reforming Cultural Industries
Cultural export is one of the key elements of a country’s cultural soft power; however, as argued
previously, China is facing a huge deficit in the cultural sectors. The cultural industries are “powerful carriers
and distributors of values and beliefs”, which play an important part in expanding a country’s influence.49
Nevertheless, compared with the attractiveness of China’s traditional culture and fascinating history, Chinese
popular culture is still in its launching phase. As neighbouring Japan has expressed its influence through
popular culture, and South Korea has exploited the “Korean wave”, a number of Chinese scholars argue for a
renovation of China’s media, cultural and creative industries through a transformation of China’s industrial
structure.50 Cultural soft power has thus become a key issue in the reform of cultural industries in China.
The popular culture of US, known as the entertainment industry, has played a dominant role in foreign
policy over the past five or so decades, whose success has convinced the world the meaning of pax
Americana.51 The expanding popular culture of Japan also conveys to the global public that “Japan appears the
‘softer’ power” compared with China.52 As argued above, Great emphases have been made on “cultural soft
power” in the past decade in China, and both Chinese academics and policy-makers have noted the necessity of
shifting from infrastructure toward human capital, from “made in China” to “created in China”, which could
open up a more international sphere for China.53
Tackling “Cultural Deficit”
As a leading country in international trade, China has maintained a trade surplus for many years, but in the
meantime has a great deficit in cultural trade. The phenomenon of standing deficit of cultural trade has been
hindering the flow of Chinese culture, which has critically endangered China’s global influence today.
“Cultural deficit”, as expounded by Chinese analysts, gives rise to a huge crisis of contemporary Chinese
Just as Nye points out, “when a country’s culture includes universal values and its policies promote values
and interests that others share, it increases the probability of obtaining its desired outcomes because of the
attraction it creates”.54 However, in spite of the overwhelming exportation of “made-in-Chinas”, the country
still has few ethnic or political values to offer to a world dominated by Western philosophies, which turns out to
be the lack of assertiveness and profound influence in China’s soft power discourse.
Accordingly, this paper argues that the current situation in China is critical, because behind the appearance
of cultural trade deficit, the real problem that matters is the adverse balance of cultural and ideological values.55
In other words, foreign cultures (from both the Western world and the neighbouring Japan and South Korea)
have a huge impact on Chinese public, making Chinese be increasingly attached to their values; however, the
49 Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin, “Contesting soft power: Japanese popular culture in East and Southeast Asia,” p. 77.
50 See, for instance, Li Wuwei, Chuangyi gaibian Zhongguo [Creativity Is Changing China]. Beijing: Xinhua Publishing, 2008.
51 Michael Keane, “Created in China: The New Catch up Strategy,” p. 2.
52 Yee-Kuang Heng, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Softest of Them All? Evaluating Japanese and Chinese Strategies in
the ‘Soft’ Power Competition Era”, p. 276.
53 For more detailed discussions on China’s creative economy and how television, animation, advertising, design, publishing and
digital games are reshaping traditional understanding of culture, see Michael Keane, Created in China: The Great New Leap
Forward. London: Routledge, 2007; Michael Keane, “Created in China: The New Catch up Strategy,” Proceedings International
Communication Association, Development and Intercultural Communication Panel, Dresden, June 20, 2006.
54 Joseph Nye, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, p. 11.
55 Wu You. “Cultural Industry Policy and National Cultural Revival,” p. 83.
influence of Chinese culture remains limited and superficial. As the carrier of a nation’s cultural values and
beliefs, the weak performance of Chinese cultural industry is a clear manifestation of vulnerable Chinese
cultural values. Hence the plight of “cultural deficit” is a great challenge for China’s soft power strategy today.
Making Progress, but Still Being Controversial
As analysed previously, China’s soft power efforts have achieved considerable progress since the past
decade. Nonetheless, unlike the overwhelming compliments of Chinese academics and policy-makers for its
success, the issue of Chinese soft power is still controversial judged from international opinions.
Controversy has first been generated from political and ideological issues, such as corruption, ever
increasing gap between the haves and have-nots as well as lack of democracy and political openness, which
have all impeded the Chinese “charm offensive” from being sufficiently charming. The general understanding
of Chinese cultural diplomacy principally coincides with China’s state centred approach, which makes it less
attractive to democratic countries. As Chinese specialist Ingrid d’Hooghe believes that “the state still initiates
most of China’s public diplomacy, and the lack of legitimacy and credibility in public diplomacy messages
remains a big obstacle.”56 Although the importance of non-governmental actors in this picture has gradually
been acknowledged, the essence of Chinese cultural diplomacy is still largely state-centric. This one-actor
model has somehow negative effects on Chinese cultural soft power. For instance, despite the fact that Chinese
media scholars and practitioners know that “news reporting rather than the communication of culture plays the
leading role on the world arena,” it is difficult for Chinese media to win over foreign audiences in a timely
fashion due to the state-centric running model and strict control over news coverage. 57
As China’s strategies are sometimes described to have an “authoritarian nature”58, its soft power strategy
is not that successful in the eyes of international community, as local Chinese academics might have imagined.
It is largely believed that the achievement of China’s cultural soft power is “not matched by economic
success”59, or “China’s massive push to project soft power has not directly translated into more supportive
views of its quest for status and legitimacy”.60 The close link of China’s cultural soft power and its economic
power is often mentioned, which leads to the arguments that China’s current attraction rests principally in the
economic field61, namely the market attraction for its developed neighbours like Japan and South Korea, then
aid and investment attraction for developing ones, such as some ASEAN countries. It is not a critique of
China’s development model regarding cultural soft power, but it does reveal “how underneath these hard power
issues lies soft power fears and how the two often get tangled.”62 Concerns have also been raised regarding the
expansion of China’s soft-power influence around the world, some Western analysts even pointed out that “as
China expands its national power and assumes a bigger role on the international stage, it is possible that Beijing
will promote Chinese socialist values as an alternative to Western values and seek to assertively promote the
China development model.”63 For sure, all that mentioned above has been included in the Chinese version of
56 D’Hooghe, Ingrid. “The expansion of China’s public diplomacy system,” p.19.
57 Li Xiguang and Zhou Qingan, Soft Power and global communication, p. 34.
58 Zhang Yongjin, “The Discourse of China’s Soft Power and Its Discontents” , 51; Zhao Suisheng, “The Prospect of China’s
Soft Power: How sustainable?”, p. 260.
59 Michael Keane, “Keeping Up with the Neighbors: China’s Soft Power Ambitions,” p. 130.
60 Chin-Hao Huang, “China’s Soft Power in East Asia: A Quest for Status and Influence? The national bureau of Asian research
NBR special report,” p. 2.
61 Geun Lee, “China’s Soft Power and Changing Balance of Power in East Asia,” p. 2.
62 Michael Barr, Who’s afraid of china? The Challenge of Chinese Soft Power, p. 12.
63 Bonnie S. Glaser and Melissa E. Murphy, “Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics: The Ongoing Debate,” p.10.
cultural soft power, which is called “soft power with Chinese characteristics”. In this regard, whether those
Chinese characteristics are a motivation or an opposition is one question to be answered in future practice.
For conclusion, the boost of China’s cultural soft power along with its economic performance has been
crucial in expanding the country’s international influence. Although Asia has been experiencing rapid
economic development, which leads to the talk of “the power shift from the West to the East”, this region
remains complicated and fragile due to the complex of geopolitics, the diversities of civilization as well as the
disputes of history problems.64 Despite the fact that China and its neighbours are closely linked and
interdependent in economy, the political and territorial conflicts in the region have never ceased, which is an
“Asia paradox” according to South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
In short, the trend of economic integration is inevitable in the age of globalization, and China is by far a
regional leader in the field of economy in Asia. China’s “charm offensive” through culture diplomacy
contributes to ease some tensions over political disputes and expand its international influence in a subtle way,
it is still far from enough to prevent some countries who depend on China in economy from seeking security
aid from U.S. Admittedly, the accomplishment of “the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation”65 is on its way,
but the goal has not yet been achieved. China, as a responsible great power, its “use of soft power may still be
limited today, but it is growing in importance.”66
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The development assistance activities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have prompted debates and scrutiny of how the Gulf countries use assistance or aid for religious soft power goals, which has a potentially destabilizing effect on local religious communities. This article explores how the Gulf states provide development assistance and their potential motivations. Using Kosovo as a case to describe the techniques used in the field by the GCC charities and development agencies, the article finds that GCC agencies/charities’ activities in Kosovo are negligible in classical development sectors such as the transport, No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).institutional, and social spheres; however, they are very active in promoting and financially supporting religious education, other religious activities, and the reconstruction of religious infrastructure. The article discusses the effects of the assistance on the local Muslim community and how the state reacted to the possible threats this assistance poses.
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The increasing cooperation between Indonesia and China within the last two decades is the gradual evolvement of reconciliation since the resumption of the relationship between these two countries in August 1990. During the course of reconciliation, China has been trying to enhance its positive image in Indonesia as an effort in eliminating suspicion and negative perception towards China in Indonesian public discourse. This article tries to scrutinize and problematize China’s efforts in increasing its positive image abroad using cultural resources it has within the soft power conceptual framework. We argue that China has been eagerly balancing its soft p\ower strategy by focusing on cultural rapprochement to gradually eliminate suspicion and negative perception that still live in Indonesia public discourse. Assuming that the Chinese government is aware that its relations with Indonesia has not been fully resumed caused by the negative perceptions by Indonesians, it must use cultural rapprochement as a substitutive element within its foreign policy. This is a systematic literature review study that focusing its inquiry on Chinese diplomacy in education and Muslim community, Confucius Institute, and Chinese-Indonesian business community as a case to enhance our conceptual framework of China’s cultural soft power. It concludes that the instrumentalization of cultural diplomacy as a substitution of China’s economic agenda in Indonesia was partly successful in changing Indonesia’s policy making process, as can we have seen in alignment of Indonesia regulations in favour of China’s BRI in many infrastructure projects but ineffective in shifting the suspicious and sensitive Indonesian public perception.
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O artigo discute e compara abordagens ocidentais e chinesas sobre poder e hegemonia, com o intuito de verificar se a China tem inovado na criação de um novo programa de pesquisa científica (PPC) em relação às perspectivas mainstream desta temática. O trabalho (1) investiga o desenvolvimento da disciplina de Relações Internacionais (RI) no Ocidente e na China, (2) descreve as premissas fundamentais dos PPCs Realista, Liberal, Marxista e Construtivista; (3) explora abordagens ocidentais e chinesas sobre poder e hegemonia; e (4) efetiva a análise comparativa. Trata-se de um trabalho exploratório, que busca, primeiramente, identificar e sistematizar abordagens sobre os conceitos de poder e hegemonia na China, para, posteriormente, interpretar as convergências e divergências com as do Ocidente. Os resultados apontam para uma perceptível semelhança entre as perspectivas, explicada, primordialmente, pelo Realismo Moral de Yan Xuetong (Realismo Clássico e Neorrealismo) e pela Teoria da Relacionalidade de Qin Yaqing (Construtivismo e Teoria Crítica). Assim, parece haver um processo de adequação conceitual das Teorias de RI ocidentais por parte dos pesquisadores chineses, com a incorporação de elementos do pensamento tradicional do país. Palavras-chave: China; Teorias de Relações Internacionais; hegemonia; poder. OIKOS | Rio de Janeiro | Volume 21, n. 3 • 2022 | | p. 88-102
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International education and education diplomacy, which is a sub-branch of public diplomacy, stand out as concepts that have begun to attract more attention in the foreign policies and international relations of states. The international dimension of education is now considered not only as a pedagogical approach, but also as a concept that has an essential place in world politics and international relations. This aspect of education is becoming more and more important in academic circles and bureaucratic structures of states. Concepts such as soft power, public diplomacy, education diplomacy, sharp power and soft power indices are explained and these concepts are examined based on theory in this book called "International Education and Soft Power". This is the third book of the "Education and Power" series. Turkey's soft power and specifically educational soft power are also explained in detail. In this way, a multidisciplinary study has been put forward, including the fields of Educational Sciences, Political Science and, of course, International Relations. In this study, which examines the relationship between international education and soft power, the author has benefited from his personal and professional experiences as well as his academic curiosity. In addition to the abroad programs and European student activities he attended during his university years, he has been continuously and actively involved in the practice of international education. During this experience, he observed how the study abroad programs provide a great economic benefit to the host countries, as well as an important benefit in terms of cultural and political influence. Education is no longer a pedagogical phenomenon solely, yet, has turned into a concept with international political outcomes and effects on a global scale. At this point, while the importance of international education in international relations and influencing foreign public opinion and its versatility with many components of this effect are of great importance, the issue of explaining the nature and mechanism of the relationship between international education and soft power from an academic and theoretical point of view has not been fully addressed. This fact has encouraged the author to do more research on this subject. The cover image of this book features a photograph of Toronto, Canada. Canada is one of the countries that the author visited many times and has experience professionally. Canada, as a country, offers one of the best examples of the relationship between international education and soft power. It has become a center of attraction in terms of soft power and international education in the world with its economy, democracy, multiculturalism, environmental awareness, strong educational infrastructure and institutions that offer quality education. Canada has taken its place after the USA and the UK as one of the most preferred countries by international students in recent years, with the opportunity to provide education-based immigration path. The Canadian government encourages all Canadian education institutions to bring students from all over the world. When the author first visited Toronto, Canada, in the summer of 2008, he loved the simple and liveable style of the city. From this year to the present, he has observed how the city has grown and how the international education operation within the city has developed. While he was the Turkey representative of some educational institutions in the city of Toronto, he witnessed the development of the city and its emergence as a great metropolitan every year. There is no doubt that such a country and city, which has a special place in the author's life, has a remarkable aspect in terms of the relationship between soft power and international education. There is also a visual from Fenerbahçe on the cover of this book. As a world-renowned Turkish sports brand, it can be easily said that Fenerbahçe is one of the most influential communities in the world. Fenerbahce has a special place for the author as it is a family legacy. During his secondary school years, he remembered the adventures and excitement of the football team at the season openings and going to the night games at İnönü Stadium. In addition to the author's personal affiliation to Fenerbahçe, the author thinks that Fenerbahçe brand has a unique place in Turkish public diplomacy and its effect will increase with Fenerbahçe University. First of all, Fenerbahçe Sports Club teams, especially football, basketball and volleyball teams, and through their achievements in amateur branches such as athletics, boxing, esports, rowing, table tennis, sailing and swimming, successfully represent Turkey in international platforms and contribute to Turkish sports diplomacy. It has risen as a globally known and respected Turkish brand in the sports industry. In addition to Fenerbahçe Sports Club's place in Turkish sports diplomacy, Fenerbahçe University, where the author serves as an assisstant professor and international relations director, presents a unique example of great importance in terms of Turkish sports diplomacy and educational diplomacy. The author has personally experienced this privileged situation when he worked at the university. The presence of students who come to the stands with Fenerbahçe jerseys at promotional events in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Far East and many countries in Europe shows the fact that these students already know the Fenerbahçe brand and even support the Fenerbahçe team. In this way, the author has seen that the soft power of Fenerbahçe as a Turkish brand has exceeded the country’s borders and now the impact of this brand as a higher education institution will increase even more. Even because of this effect, Fenerbahçe University, which was established in 2016 but started education in 2019, has not experienced much disadvantage in terms of promotion and awareness, although it is a new educational institution. Some foreign public already has a familiarity with the brand. It can be said that, as a Turkish brand, Fenerbahçe has now taken its place in Turkish public diplomacy in the field of education, after the field of sports. In line with these experiences and academic studies, the third work of the "Education and Power" series, the book "International Education and Soft Power", is presented to your attention and benefit as a result of many years of research and effort.
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States always function as rational actors as protecting the national interests of a state depends on the choices it makes in the international context. Hence, choices and preferences are central to the study of both public policy and international relations. Policies are driven and influenced by the attention and behaviors of the actors which ultimately create a path to failure or success. In the Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), India, in the absence of Pakistan, can enjoy a friendly environment and establish its goal of geopolitical and economic dominance in South Asia and Southeast Asia, while countering China’s continuous upsurge. On the other hand, in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), constant intervention from Pakistan means that India shifts its attention to use its full potential elsewhere. This article is based on secondary sources and illustrates how the interests of a major actor (India) can shape the paths of two similar regional organizations (SAARC and BIMSTEC), despite these organizations sharing characteristics such as the same member states, the same socio-economic situation, and the same vision.
China has drastically increased investment in its international media with the goals of airing its views, enhancing the country’ s global influence, and showcasing its rise as a great power in a nonthreatening and nonconfrontational manner. As noted in previous chapters, media organizations such as China Central Television (CCTV), Xinhua News Agency, and People’s Daily have all received substantial financial support from the government in recent years for their ambitious global expansion. This chapter focuses on China’s efforts in international broadcasting.
Public diplomacy has become part and parcel of China’s foreign policy strategy. China’ s leaders invest a huge amount of money and effort into projecting their images of China, and have rapidly developed public diplomacy skills and policies. This chapter provides an overview of China’ s public diplomacy system and discusses where China’ s rapidly expanding public diplomacy succeeds and where it fails.1 China’ s public diplomacy is gradually involving a more varied group of actors. An increasing number of Chinese individuals and civil society groups participate in global networks with public and private actors, bringing new dynamics and more legitimacy to China’ s public diplomacy. But the state still initiates most of China’ s public diplomacy, and the lack of legitimacy and credibility in public diplomacy messages remains a big obstacle.
As states jostle to attract and entice others by deploying a range of innovative strategies, a 'soft' power competition era looms possibly in the Asia-Pacific. This paper argues that reflecting on this period of competitive policy innovation provides a valuable opportunity to re-assess the theory and practice of Joseph Nye's 'soft' power, given its conceptual and empirical frailties: how theoretically precise are the policies commonly described as projecting 'soft' power? To do so, it undertakes a comparative evaluation of Japan's and China's 'soft' power strategies. By paying close attention to the theory-practice linkage, it illuminates the disparities in their understanding of Nye's 'soft' power. Rather than a one-size-fits-all concept, 'soft' power strategies with distinctively Japanese and Chinese characteristics are emerging, bringing different advantages and weaknesses. The proverbial magic mirror would conclude that by more closely matching Nye's formulations and displaying a less competitive streak, Japan appears the 'softer' power. © The author [2010]. Published by Oxford University Press in association with the Japan Association of International Relations; all rights reserved. For permissions, please email: [email protected] /* */
China is setting up Confucius Institutes around the world to spread its language and culture and to increase collaboration with foreign academic institutions. The institutes could increase China's "soft power" and help it project an image of itself as a benign country. Concerns exist about a "Trojan horse" effect.