China’s Soft Power

11 Feb

The attendance of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the current Sochi Winter Olympics symbolises how sport is now being used as another form of soft power by the Chinese government according to British experts.

Soft power is characterised by shaping preferences and attracting others to do what you want by leading by example. This can be conveyed through a country’s popular and elite culture as well as public diplomacy (Kurlantzick, 2007). China’s use of soft power could be seen as a component of the ‘Power Transition’ and ‘Recovery of Asia’ as well as a way of opposing Western views and ideals. These thoughts have major influence over other developing countries, particularly in Africa and surrounding Asia where the ‘China Model’ of state directed growth is seen as an appealing way to develop (Kurlantzick, 2007).

President Xi Jinping has been considered to be far more ‘proactive’ than his predecessors when it comes to China’s foreign policy, as indicated by his attendance in Russia.  This was the first time a Chinese head of state has attended a major overseas sports event, it highlights how China is keen to exert its global presence and diplomacy. The visit also emphasises China’s relationship with Russia as another regional and possible future global power and influence.

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2 Responses to “China’s Soft Power”

  1. rw14g11 February 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    One reason why I think this visit by Xi Jinping is noticeable is because no leader of a prominent western nation went in protest at Putin’s attitude to homosexuality. Xi Jinping’s attendance shows China’s unwillingness to participate in that argument, and to that extent it suggests that China is treating sport in a ‘pure sense’.

    China is still finding its way on the global stage and it hasn’t quite learnt the subtleties yet, so attending the opening ceremony is not important at all, especially as other leaders were protesting Russia’s attitudes domestically. In the grand scheme of things, the winter olympics are not important and no one cares.

  2. rw14g11 February 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    The final line can be misinterpreted here. By that I mean compared to other major sporting events, such as the summer Olympics or the World Cup, it is not as important.

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