College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Playing Soft in the Era of Trump and Xi

In 2010, the Chinese government published the “Blue Book of China's Cultural Soft Power”. The book pessimistically stated that the United States wielded 43% of the soft power in the world and the European Union 34%, while China’s soft power was limited to less than 4%.

The Global China Studies project of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences was delighted to have Professor Stanley ROSEN, Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California, to shed some light on China’s current soft power push in his lecture entitled “China’s Pursuit of ‘Soft Power’ in the Era of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping” on 11 March 2019.

Professor Rosen, who specialises in Chinese politics and society, commented on the soft power play of China after two years of Trump’s presidency. The evidence of the decline of the American image internationally from multiple surveys was overwhelming. Has China been able to reap some rewards from the American decline? “Despite billions of dollars spent on soft power, there has been a relative lack of success of Chinese soft power abroad,” said Professor Rosen. “China has repeatedly indicated willingness to sacrifice short-term gains in soft power in pursuit of higher priorities,” he continued. During the lecture, he explained the differences of soft power projection by China and the United States. He also showed different front covers of The Economist portraying Trump and Xi to illustrate the growing influence of China and the decline of the United States in global affairs.

The lecture attracted a full house and the audience expressed great interest in this topic. Following Professor Rosen’s presentation, an interactive discussion session was initiated between the speaker and the audience on China’s soft power play with the United States and other countries in the world.