This book examines the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to improve China’s image around the world, thereby increasing its "soft power." This soft, attractive form of power is crucial if China is to avoid provoking an international backlash against its growing military and economic might.

The volume focuses on the period since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, and is global in scope, examining the impact of Chinese policies from Hong Kong and Taiwan to Africa and South America. The book explains debates over soft power within China and delves into case studies of important policy areas for China’s global image campaign, such as film, news media and the Confucius Institutes. The most comprehensive work of its kind, the volume presents a picture of a Chinese leadership that has access to vast material resources and growing global influence but often struggles to convert these resources into genuine international affection.

With a foreword by Joseph Nye, Soft Power With Chinese Characteristics will be invaluable to students and scholars of Chinese politics and Chinese media, as well as international relations and world politics more generally.

chapter |21 pages


part 1|125 pages

Debating China’s soft power strategy

chapter 1|20 pages

Projection of China’s Soft Power in the New Century

Reconstruction of the traditional Chinese world order

chapter 2|18 pages

The End of China’s Rise

Consequences for PRC debates on soft power

chapter 3|18 pages

Ironies of Soft Power Projection

The United States and China in the age of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping

chapter 4|19 pages

Vessels of Soft Power Going Out to Sea

Chinese diasporic media and the politics of allegiance

chapter 5|17 pages

The Battle of Images

Cultural diplomacy and Sino–Hollywood negotiation

chapter 6|16 pages

Branding as Soft Power

Brand culture, nation branding and the 2008 Beijing Olympics

chapter 7|15 pages

A Decade of Wielding Soft Power through Confucius Institutes

Some interim results

part 2|135 pages

China’s global soft power under Xi Jinping

chapter 10|19 pages

The Sino–African Relationship

An intense and long embrace

chapter 12|18 pages

China’s Soft Power over Taiwan

chapter 13|21 pages

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

China’s growing “soft power deficit” in Hong Kong