chapter
21 Pages

Introduction

WithKingsley Edney, Stanley Rosen, Ying Zhu

This chapter introduces the volume, explains the concept of soft power and argues that the rise of Xi Jinping provides an important opportunity to observe a new phase in China’s soft power development. Increasing soft power has significant long-term strategic benefits for China. However, at times the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) prioritizes other, more immediate considerations such as national sovereignty or political and social stability. China uses the hard power of coercion or inducements to try to shape its international image, but this can undermine soft power by reinforcing the fears of those who see China as a threat. When the CCP attempts to use friendly local actors in foreign states to transmit its message, it runs the risk that these actions will be labeled authoritarian interference and also increase, rather than decrease, the perception of threat.