“The Big Bang Theory” and Our Future with China

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The United States has never faced a rival whose ordinary people lead lives that have so much in common with ours in America. (The Soviets did not get Carson.)

China Inc. Moves Factory Floor to Africa

Peter Wonacott
Wall Street Journal
Faced with rising labor costs at home and negative perceptions about their employment practices in Africa, Chinese companies are setting up new factories on the continent and hiring more Africans.

China Breaks Into Las Vegas Show Business

Michelle Rindels
Associated Press
The privetely funded, wordless, loosely plotted "PANDA!" is China's latest soft power incarnate. ...

Viewpoint

02.27.14

Why Frank Underwood is Great for China’s Soft Power

Ying Zhu
In depicting U.S. politics as just as vicious, if not more, sociopathic than its Chinese counterpart, House of Cards delivered a sweet Valentine’s Day gift to the Chinese government. The show handed the Chinese state an instant victory when the...

China Is Getting Better at Influencing Media Outside China

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Freedom House says China is investing in a soft-power media push, like offering free editorial content to news organizations that can’t afford to send correspondents to China and publishing inserts of China Daily’s English edition in major...

Conversation

09.24.13

A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole?

Stanley Rosen, Jonathan Landreth & more
Stanley Rosen:Wang Jianlin, who personally doesn’t know much about film, made a splash when he purchased America’s No. 2 movie theater chain AMC at a price many thought far too high for what he was getting.  A number of knowledgeable people...

Now Playing: China’s Booming Movie Market

Wei Gu
Wall Street Journal
In China, where pirated movies can be bought for less than $1, people are flocking to theaters, a sign of how Chinese consumers are willing to spend more on entertainment.

Media

07.29.13

On “Wealth and Power”

Authors Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, and John Delury, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Yonsei University in South Korea, joined Jonathan Spence, Professor of History at Yale...

Media

06.27.13

Jackie Chan—The Young Master Comes of Age

Jaime Wolf
Once in a while, if you’re lucky, and paying the right kind of attention, events align to give you a clear view of the future. In 1995, I was in Los Angeles staying with a friend who produced independent films and had the trade magazines Variety and...

Books

05.15.13

China Dreams

William A. Callahan
After celebrating their country’s three decades of fantastic economic success, many Chinese now are asking, “What comes next?” How can China convert its growing economic power into political and cultural influence around the globe? William A. Callahan's China Dreams gives voice to China’s many different futures by exploring the grand aspirations and deep anxieties of a broad group of public intellectuals. Stepping outside the narrow politics of officials vs. dissidents, Callahan examines what a third group—“citizen intellectuals”—think about China’s future. China Dreams eavesdrops on fascinating conversations between officials, scholars, soldiers, bloggers, novelists, filmmakers and artists to see how they describe China’s different political, strategic, economic, social and cultural futures. Callahan also examines how the P.R.C.’s new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings is creatively questioning “The China Model” of economic development. The personal stories of these citizen intellectuals illustrate China’s zeitgeist and a complicated mix of hopes and fears about “The Chinese Century,” providing a clearer sense of how the PRC’s dramatic economic and cultural transitions will affect the rest of the world. China Dreams explores the transnational connections between American and Chinese people, providing a new approach to Sino-American relations. While many assume that 21st century global politics will be a battle of Confucian China vs. the democratic west, Callahan weaves Chinese and American ideals together to describe a new “Chimerican dream.”  —Oxford University Press

China Seeks Soft Power Influence In U.S. Through C.C.T.V.

David Folkenflik
NPR
“This fixation on soft power arises from their deep and abiding insecurity and sense of not being respected and of being hectored and bullied by the world over the last century and a half.”

Conversation

04.25.13

Hollywood in China—What’s the Price of Admission?

Jonathan Landreth, Ying Zhu & more
Last week, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), the Hollywood studio behind the worldwide blockbuster Kung Fu Panda films, announced that it will cooperate with the China Film Group (CFG) on an animated feature called Tibet Code, an adventure story based on...

Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have enough cash, you can buy guns...

Media

04.02.13

Singing a Note of Caution About New First Lady Peng Liyuan

Xi Jinping, the newly appointed Chinese President, unfolded his presidency with a grand foreign tour to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and the Republic of the Congo. While this series of state visits unequivocally underscored China’s diplomatic...

Books

03.28.13

China Goes Global

David Shambaugh
Most global citizens are well aware of the explosive growth of the Chinese economy. Indeed, China has famously become the “workshop of the world.” Yet, while China watchers have shed much light on the country’s internal dynamics—China’s politics, its vast social changes, and its economic development—few have focused on how this increasingly powerful nation has become more active and assertive throughout the world.In China Goes Global, eminent China scholar David Shambaugh delivers the book that many have been waiting for—a sweeping account of China’s growing prominence on the international stage. Thirty years ago, China’s role in global affairs beyond its immediate East Asian periphery was decidedly minor and it had little geostrategic power. As Shambaugh charts, though, China’s expanding economic power has allowed it to extend its reach virtually everywhere—from mineral mines in Africa, to currency markets in the West, to oil fields in the Middle East, to agribusiness in Latin America, to the factories of East Asia. Shambaugh offers an enlightening look into the manifestations of China’s global presence: its extensive commercial footprint, its growing military power, its increasing cultural influence or “soft power,” its diplomatic activity, and its new prominence in global governance institutions.But Shambaugh is no alarmist. In this balanced and well-researched volume, he argues that China’s global presence is more broad than deep and that China still lacks the influence befitting a major world power—what he terms a “partial power.” He draws on his decades of China-watching and his deep knowledge of the subject, and exploits a wide variety of previously untapped sources, to shed valuable light on China’s current and future roles in world affairs.  —Oxford University Press

China’s First Lady Gets In On Charm Offensive

Financial Times
The move to make his wife more visible underscores the sense that Xi is treading a different path from his predecessor. Breaking with Chinese tradition signals his recognition that China must find new ways to make friends. 

China Plans to Build the Biggest Branch Campus in the World, but Will It Succeed?

Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser
Chronicle of Higher Education
The Chinese government announced recently that it will allow Xiamen University to establish a branch campus in Malaysia. 

Celine Dion to Peform at China Central Television’s New Year Gala Show

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
The Canadian singer will become the first Western artist to appear on the Chinese state broadcaster’s annual festive program, which is the most-watched TV event in the world.

Why China Struggles to Find Soft Power Voice

Ying Zhu
CNN
It’s been almost a year since the U.S. outpost of China Central Television (CCTV) launched under much scrutiny. So far, though, it hasn’t made much of a splash.

Will China Buy a Hollywood Studio?

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
All of China's recent investment in Hollywood raises the question: Is China positioning itself to buy a major studio? Three reasons why it will, and one why it won't...

An Overture from China Has Yet to Win Hollywood

Michael Cieply
New York Times
In September, China’s Dalian Wanda Group chairman and president said he would invest $10 billion in the U.S. To judge from the deal-making pace, it may take a while.

China Will Top U.S. as Biggest Film Market in the World by 2020: Study

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Box office haul in China, which now stands as the second-largest film market in the world after Japan, will surpass that in the U.S. by 2020, according to Ernst & Young.

China, at Party Congress, Touts its Cultural Advances

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Party guidance is the "soul” of China's moves to privitize and promote industries that can spread soft power abroad. ...

CCTV Comes to America

Alex Pasternack
Foreign Policy
 CCTV America's coverage of China is largely scrubbed of controversy and upbeat in tone, with a heavy emphasis on business and cultural stories in places where Beijing hopes to gain influence. Reporting on topics sensitive to Beijing,...

Chinese ‘Soft Power' Expands in Africa with CCTV

Ronald Yick
Global Voices
Chinese government state-controlled media, China Central Television (CCTV), launched its African regional bureau in Nairobi, Kenya on January 11, 2012. While its presence has diversified the media landscape in Africa, media watchdogs and...

Heavy Burden on Athletes Takes Joy Away From China’s Olympic Success

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
When Liu Xiang, China’s track and field superstar, crashed to the ground at the London Olympic Games on Tuesday after stumbling over the first hurdle in his 110-meter men’s hurdles heat, an announcer on the state broadcaster openly wept and subway...

Where Does Soft Power Begin?

David Bandurski
China Media Project
As we edge closer to the 18th National Congress of the CCP, we can expect hard news to enter a new cycle of tightening at every level in China. No local leader wants “negative news” to erupt on their turf, especially now. So the soldiers of “news...

As Western Media Contract, the China Daily Expands

Mark MacKinnon
Globe and Mail
These are unsettling times to be a journalist. I spent part of my Sunday afternoon watching “Page One,” a movie documenting the funereal mood inside The New York Times newsroom, while highlighting the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing “...

Fallows on Bad Air and Soft Power

James Fallows
Atlantic
This is another fascinating installment in the exercise of Chinese "soft power." For my Big Theory on the nature of Chinese soft power, see this essay and this book. For a few previous installments in the Soft-Power Watch, see this, this,...

Books

05.22.12

Every Nation for Itself

Ian Bremmer
Forget the G-7 and the G-20; we are entering a leaderless "G- Zero" era—with profound implications for every country and corporation. The world power structure is facing a vacuum at the top. With the unifying urgency of the financial crisis behind us, the diverse political and economic values of the G-20 are curtailing the world's most powerful governments' ability to mediate growing global challenges. There is no viable alternative group to take its place. The United States lacks the resources and the political will to continue as the primary provider of global public goods. China has no interest in accepting the burdens of international leadership. Europe is occupied with saving the eurozone, and Japan is tied down with its own problems. Emerging powers such as Brazil, India, and Russia are too focused on domestic development to welcome new responsibilities abroad. The result is a G-Zero world in which no single country or bloc has the political or economic leverage-or the desire-to drive a truly international agenda. Ian Bremmer explains how this will lead to extended and intensified conflict over vitally important issues, such as international economic coordination, financial regulatory reform, trade policy, and climate change. We are facing a time of profound uncertainty. Bremmer shows who will benefit, who will suffer, and why this increased state of conflict is both inevitable and unsustainable. —Penguin Books Limited

Soft Power or Hard Sell?

Unattributed
Al Jazeera
Over the past few weeks, stories coming out of China have dominated the global headlines. First came the Bo Xilai political scandal, followed by the story of Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident, and more recently, the expulsion of Al Jazeera's...

Sinica Podcast

11.18.11

Is Soft Power Always This Damn Boring?

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
In some ways, the latest deluge of rhetoric from the Party feels timeless. Ever since Mao’s famous speech in Yan’an on literature and art in 1942, the CCP has made clear that culture ought to serve politics. But there’s also something new about the...

Reports

09.08.10

Winds From the East: How the People’s Republic of China Seeks to Influence the Media in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia

Douglas Farah and Andy Mosher
Center for International Media Assistance
The People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) is using various components of public diplomacy to influence the media in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. China’s primary purposes appear to be to present China as a reliable friend and partner, as...

Sinica Podcast

05.07.10

Dimensions of China’s Soft Power

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
The Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo, the hundreds of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, and Beijing’s new English-language satellite news networks are all part of a grand Chinese soft power push: an effort to win the world through...

Media

01.21.96

Jackie Chan, American Action Hero?

Jaime Wolf
Whenever Jackie Chan leaves Hong Kong to make a public appearance in Shanghai, Taipei or Tokyo, or in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Seoul, hundreds—sometimes thousands—of his fans gather in a frenzy of adoration. Last June, Chan, the martial artist,...