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Issue № 54. February 2016

Light and Dark Sides of Chinas’s “Soft Power”

Andrey V. Budaev

Ph.D., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Nicaragua and the Republics of El Salvador and Honduras; Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Counsellor Minister.

The article deals with the roots, distinctive features, peculiarities and prospects of the development of the People’s Republic of China “soft power”. The author emphasizes ideological, philosophical and cultural dimensions of the Chinese “soft” diplomacy directed outside as well as inside the country with the objective to create a “harmonic society” at the national level and on global scale. The basis of the PRC’s “soft power” attraction are not only its powerful economic potential and abundant natural and human resources, but also real adherence to the norms of international law, implementation of authentically sovereign policy in international relations, rejection of global unification, and an expressed interest in constructing a new democratic multipolar world order. The important channels and translators of China’s “soft” diplomacy are historical and modern achievements of the country in culture, art, science, education, sports, numerous foreign diasporas, religious factor, Confucianism and spreading of its institutions all over the world. At the same time, the article emphasizes weak and vulnerable sides of the Chinese “soft power”, mostly related to the peculiarities of the democracy, political system and civil society development in the country. The author comes to the conclusion that with further formation and consolidation of the “soft power” instruments their role and significance in PRC’s foreign policy will grow objectively. Herewith “soft” Chinese expansion can intercross and compete with Russia’s activity in this area, and that predetermines the necessity of further monitoring, analysis and projecting the evolution of the Chinese “soft power” policy in relation to Russian interests, primarily for the purpose of considering and applying those estimations to Russian diplomatic activities.


Russia, China, “soft power”, diplomacy, economy, culture, sports, religion, Confucianism, diaspora, influence, expansion.

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