Chinese soft power
Soft power, a term coined 20 years ago by an American, Joseph Nye of Harvard University, who was also chairman of the US National Intelligence Council and a senior official at the Pentagon, He describe it as the “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments”.
In 2003, China adopted the message of ‘peaceful development’ to become an exception to the pattern of history whereby rising big powers conflict with established ones. Since then, there has been a sprinkling of speeches and economic campaigns with reference to China’s pursuit of a ‘harmonious world’ and a ‘harmonious society’.
The results have been mixed. With rich countries on the skids, China’s economic model is looking good. Development driven by the state as well as the market seems to be delivering dividends, and China’s success has helped popularize the idea that state-owned companies should have a larger role in their national economies. Business people around the world admire the efficiency of both the public and private sector in China. Interestingly, Chinese investment in African countries and Latin America is giving those places a welcome boost.
China has actively pursued a development agenda in or Taiwan. The sizeable number of over hundred thousand of overseas students studying in China establishes a belief about China to get ahead, in the same way that a decade ago people believed about the United States.
But experts doubt that this turn towards China might more be due to fear than desire. “Politically in Southeast Asia, it’s very hard to distinguish between an Eu-style response to China (choosing freely to expand trade ties) and the potential security threat. They’re thinking, ‘This is the big elephant in the neighborhood and we don’t want to be on its bad side.’”
Due to the prevalence of a level of authoritarianism in China, there is a continuous conflict of appeal with rest of the world, particularly the West. The economic model is inseparable from the political model and, as the Arab Spring has shown, authoritarianism has little appeal in the West or anywhere else.
The Financial Times’ essay by David Pilling presents the same argument by saying that the Chinese Communist Party’s suppression of dissent imposes limits on Beijing’s promotion of its brand of soft power. Ultimately, the increasingly rapid manner in which ideas can now be diffused across the globe sends concerns that a centralized state-based approach to governance may be untenable. Africa, coupled with locking in agreements on energy and commodities. China’s soft-power engagement in Africa includes: • Professing solidarity with Africa in international forums on trade and human rights issues; Forgiving more than $1 billion in debt from African countries; Training more than 100,000 Africans in Chinese universities and military institutes; Sending more than 900 doctors to work across Africa; and Making major investments in infrastructure, agriculture, and energy. China is steadily increasing its support for cultural exchanges, sending doctors and teachers to work abroad, welcoming students from other nations to study in China, and paying for Chineselanguage programs abroad. In 2005, China’s education ministry announced a new initiative to boost Chinese-language teaching
• in American universities and language institutes around the world. Beijing University announced a visiting-scholars fund to encourage foreign Phds to study in China; such an endeavor was not supported by any university a decade earlier.
Thechinese cultural influence started spreading as already evident in many parts of the world. “Right now, your kids wear Chinese clothes and play with Chinese toys. It is not at all inconceivable that their kids will listen to Chinese pop and prefer Chinese movies,” as put by John Derbyshire in the National Review Online.
In Southeast Asia, Chinese culture, cuisine, calligraphy, cinema, curios, art, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and fashion fads have all emerged in regional culture. Young people in the region are fascinated by Chinese culture, as seen in films, pop music, and television, even though those trends may have originated in Hong Kong