east asia

The Government has acknowledged the importance of “soft power” in global politics with an unprecedented £85m investment in the BBC World Service to support initiatives in Russia, North Korea, the Middle East and Africa. Lord Hall, the BBC Director-General, welcomed what he described as “the single biggest increase in the World Service budget ever committed by any government.”

2015 has already seen several Chinese propaganda videos, from foreign students falling in love with President Xi Jinping to Britain and China being “closer thank you think”; but this video is the most bizarre (until the next). The state news agency, Xinhua, tweeted the video above with the caption: “Wanna know what China’s gonna do? Best pay attention to the 十三五! See why it matters”.

Fewer Chinese students who are studying abroad have chosen to major in business compared with previous years [...] China's commitment to improve the country's soft power is another factor, according to Miao Lyu, executive secretary-general of CCG. "In recent years, China has made efforts to developing the country's soft power and has paid great attention to the development of the liberal arts field," said Miao.

The appearances of Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan in her tailored suits and gowns left Britain’s press swooning – describing her as “graceful”, “stunning”, “sophisticated”, “glamorous” and “chic” – during President Xi Jinping’s four-day state visit to the United Kingdom last week […] Peng’s carefully crafted image is a stark contrast to the wives of former Communist leaders.

Karla Cabrera [...] was excited when she came across "Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought," an online course about the Chinese revolutionary leader. But when Cabrera began watching the lectures on a popular online education platform owned and administered by Harvard and MIT [...] each class opened with a patriotic video montage. Talk of Mao's errors was minimal, restricted to the Communist Party line. 

"The Fierce Wife,"[...] about a woman dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s infidelity, was seen as the best ambassador for Taiwanese culture. With a contested national identity, no formal relations with major powers and no membership in international organizations such as the United Nations, Taiwanese officials are testing a new strategy: soap opera diplomacy.

Painting a sanguine outlook for China’s endeavors to enhance soft power, Kim Heung-kyu, political science professor at Ajou University, said that China might be “actively” seeking to utilize its soft power diplomacy including public diplomacy as a tool to expand its influence well beyond East Asia.