The Chinese State and Soft Power

Authors

  • Pan Pan

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.54691/bcpssh.v20i.2366

Keywords:

China; Soft Power; Confucius Institutes; Green Technology.

Abstract

With the advancement of economic globalization, in today's society where peace and development are the themes of the times, the influence of hard power, such as economic and military power, has gradually diminished. While soft power, represented by culture, political values and foreign policy, has become more and more important. The explanatory power of traditional realist theories has become increasingly weak. Against this background, Joseph S. Nye, a famous master of international relations theory and a representative of the neo-liberal school, first proposed the concept of "soft power" in 1990 in response to the "decline of the United States". "Since then, the concept of soft power has begun to attract academic attention and has gradually entered the public discourse, and has been adopted by scholars and politicians in various countries. Nye made a clear binary division of the concept of power, dividing it into hard power and soft power. According to Nye, hard power manifests itself as tangible material power, a form of control, while soft power is an intangible force of attraction and assimilation. In Nye's idea of soft power, culture, political values and foreign policy are the main resources that constitute soft power, which relies on solicitation rather than coercion and is characterised by intangibility, diffusion, non-monopoly and non-coercion. Since the mid-1990s, Chinese political and academic circles have identified the potential of soft power and have made attempts to highlight its importance. With the rise of China and related events, theories such as the 'China Threat Theory' and the 'Thucydides Trap' have emerged in the international community, suggesting that China's rise could lead to a destabilising and dangerous international situation. The soft power theory has therefore been welcomed by China as a rebuttal to these theories and an attempt to shift the world's focus to the "peaceful rise of China". This paper will reformulate and analyse China's soft power policy through Joseph Nye's concept of soft power, and will focus the discussion on China's rich cultural resources, political values and soft power resources for foreign policy. It is important to note that China's soft power policy can be successful in enhancing China's image, but given the conflicting interests of developing and developed countries. China's policy needs to be carefully crafted and well thought out. At the same time, excessive government guidance and control can enhance soft power, but according to Joseph Nye's theory, civil society should take more responsibility in building soft power.

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Published

2022-10-18

How to Cite

Pan, P. (2022). The Chinese State and Soft Power. BCP Social Sciences & Humanities, 20, 507–516. https://doi.org/10.54691/bcpssh.v20i.2366