I’m currently focusing on two aspects of the “soft power” concept as initially coined by Joseph S. Nye. What I’m most interested in at the moment is the way the concept is seen by Chinese academics, and the way it is regarded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The latter aspect isn’t terribly funny – I’m thinking of the 17th Central Committee’s “cultural document” of October 2011 as a guiding document when it comes to the relationship between the party’s soft-power and cultural policies, and this document seems to require translation (I haven’t found an English translation elsewhere so far). The former aspect would – so far, anyway – be limited to He Zengke (何增科) and, indirectly, to a few other Chinese academics he mentions, and those explorations – including translation -is the pleasant side of the task.
How relevant scientific contributions in politics really are within China, i. e. how far they actually shape the CCP’s ideological homework, is hard for me to decide, but clues may come in the process of reading and translating. I haven’t finished the central committee’s October cultural document yet, and it’s going to be on the back burner for a while. Seems to me that when discussing China’s concepts of soft power, neither the client (the CCP) nor the hopeful peddlers of scientific concepts, should be missed.
He Zengke is a scholar of politics, and director of the World Developmental Strategy Research Department, at the Central Editorial and Translation Office (中央编译局世界发展战略研究部主任). He is also deputy director at the Beijing University Governmental Innovation Research Center (北京大学中国政府创新研究中心副主任), and an expert at the – or a – sub-topic at the Central Marxism Fundamental Theory Research and Establishment Project (中央马克思主义基本理论研究与建设工程子课题首席专家) – a semi-official academic, to say the least.
» Confucius, after 14 Years of Travelling, ThinkQuest, accessed Dec 30, 2011