As China extends its economic reach, it has also increased efforts to promote its culture, or “soft power,” to counter Western influence and improve its image in the wider world.
Yet if Chinese goods are accepted everywhere, its arts and literature, embattled at home after decades of censorship and state control, are proving harder for the government to export.
After years of delicate preparations, China was the “honored guest” this past week at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest and most influential book trade event, based on the number of publishers represented. But what Beijing hoped would be a celebration of its cultural achievements turned into a tug of war between control and free speech, as much a showcase for Chinese dissidents as the state’s approved writers.
See also “China hoping to cultivate more influential authors” from USA Today.