Destined To Fail: China's Soft Power Push


In a little noticed event on New Year’s Day, China inaugurated its first non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of soft power—China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA). Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attended and spoke at the unveiling ceremony for the group, which elected as its president Li Zhaoxing, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress. Addressing the group after the vote, Li told its members that the CPDA would mobilize and coordinate “social resources and civilian efforts” towards the goal of "promoting China's soft power."

In some ways, China’s desire to strengthen its soft power capabilities seems entirely logical. After all, ancient Chinese leaders masterfully wielded soft power. And as China’s economic power has risen in recent years, the Chinese government has adopted various measures to enhance China’s soft power, such as establishing global news services (most recently, China Daily’s Africa Weekly) and Confucius Institutes across the world. Outside of China some have spoken of a Beijing Consensus that is supposedly supplementing the Washington Consensus in terms of the most favored political-economic model.

Yet even as China inaugurated its first organization dedicated to enhancing Beijing’s soft power, a number of disparate events in China were illustrating why the CCP’s charm offensive is doomed to fail.

For example, in recent weeks the Chinese government has redoubled its efforts to censor the internet. After social media users in China exposed a series of scandals involving low-level government officials, the CCP adopted new regulations that require internet service providers to quickly delete “illegal” posts and turn over the evidence to government officials. Additionally, after trying to require citizens to use their real names on social media sites like Weibo, the new regulations require citizens to use their real identities when signing up with an internet provider. More secretly, according to many inside China, authorities have been strengthening the great firewall to prevent users from employing various methods in order to gain access to a growing number of sites that are banned.

December 4, 2013 at 03:52

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Chris L
August 21, 2013 at 22:29

China is the best at historical whitewashing.  The sins of Japan during WWII are always repeated ad infinitum, and yet nowhere is there an accounting done about the 35 million who starved to death under the Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.  The stability provided by the US military presence in Asia during the Cold War helped China counter the Soviet threat, and paved the path for China to become an export powerhouse, leading to its status today as the world's 2nd largest economy (where did you think the Guangzhou and Shenzhen factories were exporting to?).  And yet today young people are thoroughly brainwashed to hate the United States as the great Satan, just like Iranians are.  What a big bowl of ungratefulness.  The Chinese always say 饮水思源,or to remember where the water came from as one drinks.  Apparently, saying one thing and actually observing it are two very different things for them.

April 20, 2013 at 18:43

Chinese soft power is rising in every country, the fact you even right about it shows China is succeeding. It’s pointless to resist the Rise of China. Just go with the flow and you will be fine.
This will be the century of China.

[...] soft power efforts are much discussed, in as much as they don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I was interested to read the latest round of China experts/old hands/talking heads on why [...]

[...] consumer spending as effectively as Western societies do, through persuasion rather than force. Its recent soft power attempts do not inspire much confidence in that field. It will be a major shift to get away from the [...]

February 7, 2013 at 13:15

The Western civilization, represented by USA,, is the devil on earth. It has been killing its own people and other people  all the time up to the present moment.  The European history is full of wars  and finally broke out to every corner of the world, leaving human devastation behind under the call of freedom, democracy and human rights.  It is slowly evolving into a human killer, perfecting their human killing weapons by their technology innovation which they claim are beneficial to the world and whitewash their crimes against humanity by embracing the so-called all-loving and all-forgiving Christianity. Those who lives by the killing weapons will perish by the killing weapons.  

k zheng
March 17, 2014 at 04:58

Wumao ting_m_1999:
like 1989 tiananmen square massacre? Harvesting organs from prisoners? Mistreat of Tibetan and Uighurs people? For abortions?

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