These are excellent resources:
d’Hooghe, Ingrid. “The Rise of China’s Public Diplomacy.” Netherlands Institute of International Relations. Clingindael 12 (2007). || Online working paper.
d’Hooghe, Ingrid. “The Limits of China’s Soft Power in Europe: China’s Public Diplomacy Puzzle.” Clingindael 25 (2010). || Online working paper
It’s an interesting approach – bearing in mind that for China, “soft power” should attract people abroad, but at home, in China, too. The introduction looks somewhat euphemistic to me, in that it refers to the CPAFFC as one of the organizations participating in exchanges “without much official involvement”. Should surprise me if there’s no party cell within the organization – just as within the other organizations she cites as major players in “people-to-people diplomacy”. After all, “China also used the instrument of people-to-people diplomacy to break out of isolation after the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989”. Who used it?
Then again, it doesn’t really hurt this paper in particular, because the rise it describes is mainly the rise in activities, budgets, airtime, etc.
In 2009, even a study group which published its results on People’s Daily‘s online platform – inofficially, though – suggested that the promotion of Chinese culture should not be a campaign. Too much propaganda would make it suspicious for the other side (因为那样宣传意味太浓，容易引起对方的怀疑和反感).
What makes China “attractive” these days are business opportunities, not soft power. The way “people-to-people diplomacy” and the party are “gum-and-teeth” is the concept’s achilles heel – and it’s inherent to the system.
thanks for the reflections and the link, JR!
Actually, Mrs d’Hooghe’s second paper you linked to seems to address the issues of credibility (in Europe) – and Germany’s or Merkel’s issues of credibility in their interaction with China.