Law and Public Policy

China’s Soft Power in the Information Age: Think Again

May 5, 2011  • IDEA Project Editor

Essay by Shanthi Kalathil
Aspen IDEA Project Staff

Published in the Institute for Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University

In recent years, many have argued that China has been largely successful at using soft power to bolster its rise to great power status. This essay suggests that the Chinese government—and other authoritarian states—have fundamentally misread the nature of the relationship between soft power and the globally networked, information-rich environment, thus misunderstanding how soft power is accumulated. Because of this, their efforts at deploying soft power over the long term are not likely to be as effective as conventional wisdom would make them out to be.

The complete essay is available for download here.