China's Charm: Implications of Chinese Soft Power


Publication Date: June 2006

Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Author(s): Josh Kurlantzick

Research Area: International relations

Type: Brief

Coverage: China


In a new Policy Brief, China's Charm: Implications of Chinese Soft Power, Carnegie Visiting Scholar Joshua Kurlantzick analyzes China's influence and policy tools of soft power and argues that, while China's rising soft power could prove benign or even beneficial in some respects, it could prove disastrous for Southeast Asia--for democratization, for anticorruption initiatives, and for good governance.

Over the past decade China has downplayed its hard power in Southeast Asia, instead creating a strategy to build its soft power. For the first time in post-WWII history, the United States may be facing a situation in which another country's appeal outstrips its own in an important region, a change sure to shock the United States. Before China's appeal spreads to other parts of the developing world, U.S. policy makers need to understand how China exerts soft power, if China's soft power could be dangerous to developing nations, and whether elements of China's charm could threaten U.S. interests.