From The Straits Times:
… Whether China’s soft power has reached world-transforming proportions may still be subject to debate, but clearly it is in no danger of being underestimated.
But is there any danger of it being overestimated? Analyses of China’s soft power tend to focus on its fast growth, with little mention of the gaps. And these are indeed many.
One particularly prominent gap is the absence of Chinese non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the international stage, which deprives China of a crucial soft power tool, hampers its public diplomacy, weakens the credibility of the messages it seeks to send out, and reduces the amount of feedback Beijing receives on its soft power initiatives, limiting its ability to assess existing programmes and improve them. [Full Text]
Yiyi Lu is a research fellow at the China Policy Institute. She is also an associate fellow and consultant at Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs).