What drives the growth of China's soft power

14Mar 2024
By Xinhua News Agencies
The Guardian
What drives the growth of China's soft power

A recent report by British consultancy Brand Finance highlighted China's ascent to the third position in the Global Soft Power Index for 2024. This leap underscores China's growing charm and burgeoning influence on the global stage.

A guest attends the publishing forum on the "China's Academic Sharing and Dissemination Around the Globe" and book launch of the "China Perspective" Series at London Book Fair in London, Britain, March 12, 2024. (Xinhua/Li Ying)

Brand Finance defines soft power as a country's ability to influence and attract international actors rather than coerce them. While interpretations of soft power differ, it generally represents a country's appeal, influence and charisma, as opposed to the awe and dread associated with hard power.

China's surge in soft power can be attributed to various factors. To begin with, the ascent has much to do with the appeal and innovation of traditional Chinese culture. As Joseph Nye, an American political scientist who coined the term soft power, put it, one of the sources of China's soft power is traditional Chinese culture, which remains attractive.

Recent events like Year of the Dragon celebrations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have once again showcased the charm of Chinese culture and captivated audiences worldwide. Such elements as language, traditional medicine, Tai Chi and calligraphy have also gained popularity overseas.

People perform dragon dance in a parade featuring Chinese New Year in San Francisco, the United States, Feb. 24, 2024. (Photo by Dong Xudong/Xinhua)

Meanwhile, modern Chinese culture is also trending. Productions like "The Three-Body Problem" and "The Wandering Earth" have garnered international traction, and Chinese games like "Genshin Impact" have successfully entered overseas markets.

Another driver is the robust new momentum of China's development, whose spillover effect has created more opportunities for the world. The success of online retail platforms like Temu and Shein and the international recognition of Chinese electric vehicles serve as good examples.

China's emphasis on innovation-driven development has positioned it at the forefront of crucial fields like digital technology and renewable energy. That not only boosts China's economy but also offers quality products and services that meet the needs of global consumers, fostering a shared sense of progress and prosperity.

Also propelling China's soft power is the increasing global recognition of the principles it upholds and practices as a responsible major country.

Through China's engagement in promoting multilateral cooperation and its consistent efforts to address pressing international challenges, resolve regional conflicts and push for a fairer global governance system, the world sees a country committed to the common good of humanity.

Journalists take photos and videos during BYD grand launch in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 18, 2024. China's BYD, a global leader in the sale of pure electric vehicles (EV), launched three new electric passenger cars, SEAL, Atto 3, and Dolphin, in Jakarta, Indonesia to further expand in the Southeast Asia region. (Xinhua/Xu Qin)

China's development model also serves as a viable alternative for many developing nations in their quest for modernization, offering valuable insights into balancing political stability, economic growth and social governance.

The tangible results yielded from the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, the Global Civilization Initiative and other Chinese proposals have continuously strengthened the world's appreciation of China's positive national image and contributed to the ongoing enhancement of China's soft power.

For example, the China International Import Expo and other Chinese exhibitions "reflect the desire of China to cooperate with other countries to achieve common interests in a way that reflects joint development for China and the world," said Diaa Helmy, secretary-general of the Cairo-based Egyptian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, adding that "those initiatives and expos are an indication that China opens its arms to all to achieve win-win cooperation."

Consistency between words and deeds defines China's soft power. This is precisely why China is poised to synergize its growing soft and hard power and make more contributions to world peace and development.

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