EASSC Publications


Soft power along the Belt and Road

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


Over the past decade, the Chinese leadership has attempted to increase China’s soft power globally. Soft power has been employed to counter the ‘China Threat’ rhetoric and to increase China’s standing in the international community. More recent articulations of the China Dream and the Belt and Road initiative are significant examples of Chinese soft power in action. The Belt and Road initiative is particularly interesting as it has become a key driver of Chinese foreign policy and it also seeks to export Chinese cultural and political values abroad. The Belt and Road initiative promises win-win cooperation and outcomes, mutual trust and respect between participants, and it also expresses a desire to provide scope for greater understanding between civilisations, typically employing the East / West binary. While there has been much interest in the Belt and Road initiative, it is difficult to discern what is driving this interest. Is this successful soft power in action or is it the economic promises that are driving external interest in China’s grand strategy for 21st century globalisation? This paper examines some of the soft power instruments being employed by the Chinese to promote the Belt and Road initiative and more generally, China’s rise.

Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

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This document has been peer reviewed.