Date of this Version
2011 Dec 15 in The China Beat http://www,thechinabeat.org/
As an attempt to drain the seemingly endless reserves of paranoia fed by China’s rise, the extension of Chinese “soft power” [ruan shi li 软实力] into Western Europe is one of the more interesting stories of our day. How the Chinese Communist Party uses culture and cultural exchange to shape its image in Europe varies, like any good guerrilla strategy, depending on conditions. In the performing arts, PRC-sponsored groups tour European stages, acting out a meta-drama that pits twirling autonomous-region Uighurs against the ubiquitous Falun Gong-affiliated Shen Yun ballerinas (and their army of granny pamphleteers). Embassy-sponsored photographic exhibits celebrating modernization on the Tibetan plateau contend with high-buck seminars by the Dalai Lama.