In what I anticipate will be an ongoing feature to strengthen the cultural diplomacy and Chinese “soft power” profile on this site, SinoMondiale will be carrying some periodic summaries of related work by JustRecently, whose weblog, as can be seen from even a casual glance at his handiwork just today, is one of the most detailed and active sites for analysis of the mechanics and rhetoric of China’s soft power strategy today. — Adam Cathcart
JR’s Soft Power Summary
Ambassadors Abroad | May 24, 2012
This was actually a May event, but probably a “first” in the history of the CCP Central Propaganda Department. People’s Daily’s Du Rong watched the event and had this to report:
On May 24, the Central Propaganda Department at W Changan Road opened its doors and welcomed some special guests. At an open-house activity with the theme “Entering CCP Central Propaganda Department”, nearly sixty high-level diplomats stationed in China came in here for the first time, to have a look around, to have discussions and exchanges, and to understand the CCP’s work at theoretical learning, news dissemination, and at the building of ideological virtue.
Next scheduled event: a visit to a labor camp – possibly the place where the party is rebuilding Liu Xiaobo‘s ideological virtues…. No – just kidding. But then, who knows?
Kissinger in Beijing: Naked Power | June 14, 2012
Several old men appear to play a role in China’s nation branding. If they talk highly of China (including its political system), Beijing seems to reckon, it might help to create a positive mood in their home countries. Former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt are two of Beijing’s old friends. To jolly them along is the job of the top: Wen Jiabao met Schmidt in Hanover in April, and again in May, this time in Beijing.
And he met with Henry Kissinger in June.
If elder barbarian statesmen form some sort of Consultative Politbureau is not known, and only nothing quoted from either Wen or Kissinger, in a routine foreign-ministry statement, related to their actual discussions.
Those Chinese readers or news watchers who cared probably vaguely thought that Kissinger was kind of a good guy, a “friend of China”, and that would be that. But at least one Chinese blogger, a certain Ha Han, seemed to feel that Kissinger was an emperor behind a curtain. Rather than in soft power, Ha Han was interested in naked power, i. e. American high-technology.
Stop Laughing, Start Thinking | June 15, 2012
Remarks on a number of China blogs on how deficient were Chinese soft-power efforts incensed JR on that day in June, making him think that there was a lot of complacency at work in the analysis community – justified in the face of Beijing’s image, maybe, but not when considering the hard power behind it. He didn’t write that in his original post, but would now like to add that you don’t need to be Chinese to be some kind of Ah-Q.
The Three Layers of a Country’s Image | June 28, 2012
Zhao Lingmin, once an editor with Nanfang Chuang, questioned in an article for Nanfang Renwu, on June 1, if the Confucius Institutes stood an actual chance of contributing to China’s soft power. Zhao suggested that there was a fundamental error in the concept, resulting from a typically Chinese way of thinking.