Authoritarianism Goes Global (II): China’s Foreign Propaganda Machine

Issue Date October 2015
Volume 26
Issue 4
Page Numbers 51-59
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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has long suffered from a poor international image and weak “soft power.” The country’s negative image has hindered international acceptance of its rise as a global great power. Because the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants China to “gain face” (yao mianzi) in the international arena, it has in recent years invested heavily in boosting the country’s international approval rating. Yet, to date, China’s considerable efforts to modernize its foreign propaganda apparatus have only been partly successful in shifting international public opinion. On the one hand, CCP efforts to raise global awareness of the country’s economic transformation have been very effective, as have its efforts to shape the discourse on Taiwan. On the other hand, as polls and other research show, CCP efforts to improve non-Chinese foreigners’ perceptions of China’s domestic politics and role on the international stage have so far largely failed to sway these audiences.

About the Author

Anne-Marie Brady is professor of political science at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her works include China as a Polar Great Power (2017) and Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China (2008).

View all work by Anne-Marie Brady