Sponsored by the government organization Hanban, the Confucius Institute has been successfully promoting the learning of Chinese Language internationally. However, it recently inspired a lot of resistance, especially in the San Gabriel Valley, where an editorial in a local paper decried that the Chinese Communist Party is sending Chinese teachers to spread Communist ideology. Is the Confucius Institute a cultural exchange platform or an aggressive arm of Chinese foreign policy?
Some of China’s major news agencies are busy expanding their English-language satellite news networks. For example, CCTV has recently invested six billion dollars in its international satellite news network and has established bureaus all over the U.S. But who is the audience of this media expansion?
As one of the biggest plays for soft power that China has ever staged, the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was intended to showcase Chinese culture and innovation. However, was it as inspiring in the view of Western core values as Chinese media had praised, or was it more imposing and intimidating? Shanghai EXPO just opened after billions of dollars have been devoted to it by the Chinese government, but do people outside China really care?
In this week’s podcast, Kaiser and Jeremy discuss different facets of the grand Chinese soft power push as an effort to win the world through attraction rather than coercion. Is Beijing’s global soft power charm bearing fruits? Is China making or breaking its public image? Why has Chinese culture not made meaningful impacts on the West? In what ways is China still deficient that would make for real attractiveness?
Joining our podcast this week are Gady Epstein, Beijing bureau chief for Forbes magazine, and Evan Osnos, Beijing-based staff writer for the New Yorker and part-time enforcer in Kaiser's outlaw e-biker gang. We are also proud to have extra commentary from Adam Minter, an American writer in Shanghai who brings us stories from his first-hand encounter with the 2010 Expo.