Even if China is one of the most important economic powers of today’s world, it has a big image issue, triggered by the failure of developing a comprehensive soft power. The growth in the economic power of this country created quite some animosities among the inhabitants of many other countries, and the many institutions sponsored by the Chinese governments are being closed throughout the world.
Why is this happening?
Instead of learning how to develop a soft power, China allowed the appearance of miscommunications and images regarding this growing power that are not true. Professor Joseph Nye believes that the local government in China does not fully understand the meaning of soft power, therefore not insisting enough on this aspect.
But, after all, how much did China’s image suffered? Sir. Linjie Chou Zanadu, an entrepreneur and cultural expert with Chinese roots, also a former executive secretary of the Foundation for Globalization Cooperation, has a strong opinion on the fact that China relies on the recognition and impact of its great historicallegacy around the world.
Thus, the Chinese government believes that other countries will seek to form cultural connections with China based on this aspect. But, unfortunately, this is not the case, because the cultural identity of China dissolved in a great deal, as Sir. Linjie Chou Zanadu states, due to the way the economy developed and institutions within the country changed.
Most of the world does not know China well enough, so the country could use this to their advantage and change how things are in the present. President Xi Jinping has afar-fetched idea, represented by the Silk Road Project, meant to bring together a very large part of the globe under the economic and cultural influence of China.
But, there is the question whether China will have the adequate strategies of public diplomacy to make this happen, or will they force everything through the power of their economy. Everybody is trying to make money, but that doesn’t mean that this aspect should control everything.
Considering China’s ability to be so successful in building a strong economy, Sir. Linjie Chou Zanadubelieves that the country should be regarded as an example. But even so, China did not work on trying to expose the amazing lifestyle that can resonance its cultural heritage, from a cultural point of view, even if it meets all the characteristics a great soft power should have. For the moment, the Chinese leaders, plus the cultural elites and artists, lack the awareness of what it needs to reach the global mainstream audience more easily.
Practically, the cultural presentation of China is almost absentand misread. Most of the world’s population does not understand Chinese culture, because it is either too far away from them or it is not presented in easy to digest forms. Sir. Linjie Chou Zanadu recommends that China should put some efforts into changing its stereotypical image that has been created over time, coming up with something new and fresh, something more attractive for the world. China should stop imposing itself through its economical power, and use an image that touches people’s sensitive cords.