RPI Author David Shambaugh recently published an article in Foreign Policy’s July/August 2015 Issue entitled, “China’s Soft Power Push: The Search for Respect.” He writes:
As China’s global power grows, Beijing is learning that its image matters. For all its economic and military might, the country suffers from a severe shortage of soft power. According to global public opinion surveys, it enjoys a decidedly mixed international image. While China’s economic prowess impresses much of the world, its repressive political system and mercantilist business practices tarnish its reputation. And so, in an attempt to improve perceptions, Beijing has mounted a major public relations offensive in recent years, investing billions of dollars around the world in a variety of efforts.
Although Beijing’s publicity blitz began in 2007 under President Hu Jintao, it has intensified under President Xi Jinping. In October 2011, as Xi was preparing to take power, the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) devoted a whole plenary session to the issue of culture, with the final communiqué declaring that it was a national goal to “build our country into a socialist cultural superpower.” And in 2014, Xi announced, “We should increase China’s soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better communicate China’s messages to the world.” Under Xi, China has bombarded the world with a welter of new initiatives: “the Chinese dream,” “the Asia-Pacific dream,” “the Silk Road Economic Belt,” “the Twenty-First-Century Maritime Silk Road,” “a new type of major-country relations,” and many others. It is easy to dismiss such talk as “slogan diplomacy,” but Beijing nonetheless attaches great importance to it.
In China, “propaganda” is not a derogatory term. (more…)
Just 30 years ago, China was a poor, isolated nation of rural farmers. The vast majority of its citizens struggled to afford food and clothes. But a series of free market reforms in the 1980s and ’90s transformed China, propelling it to the No. 2 spot in the global economy. China is now the world’s largest manufacturer and has the second biggest military. But a leading China expert and RPI author David Shambaugh says the rise of the Middle Kingdom has been greatly exaggerated. He says China’s influence is limited by isolationism and a focus on low-end manufacturing. NPR’s Diane Rehm and author David Shambaugh discuss the myth of China’s global power.
Listen to the audio and view the transcript here.Continue Reading →