China’s soft power

China’s soft power

In China’s campaign to win friends and influence people, gunpowder is only part of the equation.

China can no longer use money to silence critics
This will be remembered by many as the year that China did near-irreparable damage to its international reputation and image. Chinese leaders and policymakers have generally understood that China’s gradual rise to international prominence would bring with it challenges, especially regarding the perceptions of others. To allay the fears of outsiders about its rise, China has, for the past decade or so, attempted a multipronged charm offensive aimed at the rest of the world. Billions were spent on soft-power initiatives such as the Beijing Olympics, promotional videos, media expansion and the proliferation of Confucius Institutes across the globe. Diplomatic efforts went beyond traditional for
China can no longer use money to silence critics
US to boost soft power with Mandarin network
The US government is planning a major new Mandarin-language initiative in an effort to bolster its global reputation at a time of Chinese ascendancy and eroding American soft power. Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) are joining forces on a new network called Global Mandarin, according to internal memos, job placement advertisements and interviews with people close to Washington’s information arms. Its annual budget would be between $5 million and $10 million, potentially rising in the second year, according to a source who requested anonymity given links to the networks. It would focus on softer content aimed at reaching younger Chinese in the US, China and beyond. The US roll
US to boost soft power with Mandarin network
Universities are the front line of China's rivalry with the West
Someday, perhaps soon, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump will sign an agreement resolving the US-China trade war. But the trade dispute has exposed more fundamental cleavages between China and the community of democratic nations. The most important clashes between China and the West concern not soybean exports nor the protection of patents, but free expression and open inquiry. Nowhere are those clashes taking place more vigorously than on university campuses. Consider the case of Nathan Law, the Hong Kong student who became a leader in the city’s 2014 “umbrella movement.”  Law was jailed for his activism and barred from legislative politics, but was accepted into a graduate program at Yale Unive
Universities are the front line of China's rivalry with the West
The Chinese state media anchor taking on Fox
The first time Liu Xin traveled abroad for a speech competition in London in 1996, the college student was confused by everything the Western world had to offer. “I was bewildered. Everything was new,” Liu told Chinese news outlet ThePaper.cn in a 2017 interview. “I felt like I was in an unreal world.” Despite the confusion, Liu won the top prize with her flawless British English and a powerful speech advocating for women’s rights to reach their full potential.  Two decades later, Liu is a leading anchor at the main English-language channel of China’s state television. Over the weekend, she went under the global spotlight again for agreeing to debate Fox Business Network host Trish Regan on
The Chinese state media anchor taking on Fox
Xi Jinping calls cultural superiority ‘stupid’ in veiled jab at US
China has presented itself as a defender of “Asian civilizations” as it engages in an intensifying trade and military rivalry with the United States. At the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Asian countries to stand by their cultures and political systems in what analysts said was an oblique rebuttal to Washington. “We should have more confidence in our civilizations … work hard to continue the glory of Asian civilizations,” Xi said in a speech on Wednesday. As China has amassed greater economic power and political influence globally, it has come under growing criticism over its authoritarian ways and suspected human rights abuse
Xi Jinping calls cultural superiority ‘stupid’ in veiled jab at US
MIT cuts ties with Chinese tech giants Huawei, ZTE
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ending its funding ties with Chinese telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE, citing the risks of such arrangements in the light of US federal investigations of the two companies. MIT’s move is the latest in a series of blows to the Chinese telecoms giants, both of which have struggled in the face of high-level opposition to their activities in the US market. Lawmakers allege that the equipment they sell – key components in mobile phone network infrastructure – could become cybersecurity threats. The announcement by the prestigious academic institution – rated third in the US News and World Report’s ranking of American universities – follows similar moves by S
MIT cuts ties with Chinese tech giants Huawei, ZTE
Chinese businessmen can buy Trump access – and I should know
Reports on Cindy Yang, the founder of a recently raided Florida massage parlor that allegedly offered sexual services, have turned the spotlight on social media pictures of her with President Donald Trump and his family members. Yang, who emigrated from China to the US, reportedly set up a company in 2017 to sell Chinese clients access to the US president and prominent Republican politicians. While the connection between Yang’s business activities and political contributions in the US is definitely worth investigating, we must refrain from characterizing the case as an instance of China exerting its back-door political influence, unless new evidence becomes available. Undoubtedly, actual or
Chinese businessmen can buy Trump access – and I should know
Inkstone index: China’s Oscars record
0: the number of Chinese films that have won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The world’s most populous country has never produced an Oscar-winning film. China has been competing in the Academy Awards for four decades. But out of 32 films the government has submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film, only two have been nominated, and none have bagged a little gold man for China. Chinese movies have been huge hits at home, and some of them have won prestigious awards at foreign film festivals, such as Cannes. But the poor reception of China’s official submissions to the Oscars reflects a weak spot in Beijing’s soft power push. The Communist Party has been trying hard to ma
Inkstone index: China’s Oscars record
The bitchy most-Googled show getting pulled from Chinese TV
They’re bitchy, backstabbing dramas that have China hooked. But their days might be numbered, after Chinese state media has attacked the nation’s period dramas for their “negative influence on society.” The record-breaking blockbuster Story of Yanxi Palace is the latest historical drama to be taken off the air, being pulled from state-run channels Shandong TV and Dragon TV after an article in state media on Friday criticized the genre for promoting negative values such as luxury and viciousness. Before Story of Yanxi Palace was cut, Dragon TV replaced another period drama, Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace, with a reality show on Monday afternoon. The change in programming schedules came afte
The bitchy most-Googled show getting pulled from Chinese TV
Chinese woman yelled at in Italy for trying to buy a bottle of water
Milan is one of the world’s capitals of fashion and design. It boasts soaring cathedrals and stunning shopping arcades. Just don’t try to buy a bottle of water. An elderly Chinese woman who was insulted in a supermarket in Italy for speaking Chinese has led to an online discussion over language use in foreign countries. In a video circulating online, a man at an Iper supermarket in Milan was heard swearing at the woman, who was asking for the price of bottled water in a Chinese dialect. “Madam, but here we are in Italy, it is useless to speak to me in Chinese,” the man said in Italian. The man, who appeared to be filming the video himself, then delivered a string of racist insults and gibbe
Chinese woman yelled at in Italy for trying to buy a bottle of water