Gastrodiplomacy is becoming a defined field of international communications and engagement in its own right, and my friend Paul Rockower has written a lot about this on his own blog (the links are on the left hand side of this page). Exploring China is not only a contribution to China's gastrodiplomacy, but also demonstrates Chinese soft power in action.

Though the corporate figures often come to stand as symbols for Western political and media imperialism, state‐sponsored media organisations exist as direct mouthpieces for that nation’s ideology. In official rhetoric this strategy is referred to as ‘public diplomacy’.

In order for soft power to be effective, however, you need a foundation of trust between countries. This can be a problem with traditional forms of cultural diplomacy, which are often perceived as being merely vehicles for sweetening the appeal of government policy. If a country is perceived to be overly self-interested as it deploys soft power, its efforts will fall flat.

CCTV Africa's mission will be to present the good truth of China \[...] and to show the good experiences of its economic development."...until recently, the country did not wish to export its culture, but in 2008 things changed. The following year President Hu Jintao used the concept of soft power for the very first time, connecting it to the diffusion of Chinese culture and influence around the world.

Five major international broadcasters — Voice of America, British Broadcasting Corp., Deutsche Welle, Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France and Radio Netherlands Worldwide — recently called on Iran to stop jamming radio and TV signals targeted at that country.

Over the past decade, governments have become increasingly aware of the importance of "soft" power ... as a complement to the "hard" power of traditional military and economic means of achieving foreign policy objectives. Today in Westminster Hall I will be debating how we can develop a foreign policy strategy that better integrates the different elements of hard and soft power.

Yes, those pesky giant pandas from Sichuan province are causing trouble again. Earlier this month, we noted that the media was hailing the arrival of Sweetie and Sunshine at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland as the latest chapter in China's grand tradition of "panda diplomacy,"...

More information is emerging about the expansion plans of China Central Television (CCTV), which I wrote about four weeks ago. Apart from setting up new offices in New York and Nairobi, CCTV is said to plan new hubs in South America, the Middle-East and Europe. Within five years it will increase its overseas staff tenfold