On cnreviews, Charles Custer of ChinaGeeks translates a blog post by Hung Huang, in which she responds to an academic’s comments about China’s soft power that, “One Yao Ming, one Zhang Ziyi are more effective than ten thousand Confuciuses”:
First of all, as far as China is concerned, I think soft power and hard power are equally important. Secondly, we currently have hard power, but our soft power is very weak. In terms of manufacturing, we are a giant exporter, but in terms of culture, we are importers; we import 15 times more culture than we export. Third, we often talk about the great achievement of thousands-of-years-old Chinese culture, as if China today had no culture to speak of.
Put it this way, let’s look at the great “soft power armies” of other countries: France’s definitely wear Dior army uniforms, carry Louis Vuitton satchels, the army marches out with glittering Cartier emblems, and when they fire over a volley of red wine, China’s fashion industry definitely lines the streets to welcome them, as though they were looking upon excellent fashions. The most unwelcoming thing they might do is strip them and send the French home naked!
And if it’s America? There would be a column of Mickey Mouses, a column of Donald Ducks, and a column of Tom and Jerrys. There would be Transformers, Superman, Batman, and Spiderman; Chinese children under 16 would happily think it was a promotional activity for a toy store.
And then there’s the Chinese soft power army; if we go with what netizens want, then it’s a 2000-year-old rotten old man? If Confucius hadn’t once denounced the daughters of peasants, most Chinese wouldn’t know what “the Master” was talking about even if he spoke all day.