Between cultural confidence and ideological insecurity

China’s soft power strategy for the cultural industries

Authored by: Kingsley Edney

The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415706209
eBook ISBN: 9781315725437
Adobe ISBN: 9781317533986


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There is a clear gap between the expectations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that the country’s rich and deep cultural tradition should be a source of cultural influence for China and the reality of an international marketplace in which contemporary Chinese cultural products, particularly books, music and television shows, often struggle to attract a global audience. As O’Connor and Gu (2006: 279) have pointed out, China’s global cultural profile ‘lacks real weight’. The CCP has attempted to remedy this discrepancy between China’s rich cultural heritage and its weak international cultural presence by investing in a strategy to promote Chinese culture internationally. Heavily influenced by the concept of ‘soft power’ (Nye 2004), the Party has encouraged Chinese cultural industries to ‘go out’ (zou chu qu) and compete to win over international audiences (Zhang 2010).

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