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Sergey Mikhnevich1
  • 1 Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 32 Nakhimovskiy prospekt, Moscow, 117997, Russia;

The Panda in the Dragon’s Service: The Main Directions and Mechanisms of China’s Soft Power Policy

2014. Vol. 9. No. 2. P. 95–129 [issue contents]

The article considers China’s development of its soft power policy. The analysis focuses on seven major directions of that policy: the popularization of the Chinese language, the promotion of Chinese classical and modern culture, the expansion of education contacts; the development of economic ties, the provision of foreign aid, the promotion of public diplomacy and compatriots policy.

The author explores the main problems and successful results of China’s use of soft power, and the major mechanisms and tools of its implementation.

The analysis found that Confucius Institutes and classes are the most important tool for popularizing the Chinese language. Chinese cultural centres and various cultural meetings promote China’s traditional culture effectively. China actively develops education links with other countries; it attracts increasing numbers of international students, with more than 360,000 going to China in 2013. The most effective illustration of China’s soft power success is the country’s spread and development of international economic partnerships, achieved through instruments and techniques such as exhibitions, external investment and swap agreements. China also provides much aid to developing countries, preferring bilateral channels over multilateral mechanisms. Unique aspects of China’s soft power include “panda diplomacy” and disaster diplomacy. China frequently promotes its soft power through its diaspora (huaqiao), and has structured those contacts and links using a legal base and powerful governmental mechanisms.

Nevertheless, China’s soft power policy remains rather weak. This is due to two reasons. The first is the lack of generally accepted and recognized moral narratives in its soft power policy. The second is the problem of the “target audience” of China’s soft power, which are the governments of foreign countries rather than their societies.

Citation: Mikhnevich S. (2014) The Panda in the Dragon’s Service: The Main Directions and Mechanisms of China’s Soft Power Policy. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 9, no 2, pp. 92-129 (in Russian).
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