Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 69–89 | Cite as

Building China’s Soft Power for a Peaceful Rise

  • Xin LiEmail author
  • Verner Worm
Research Article


With its rapid economic growth and deepening integration into the global system, Chinese leaders see the first 20 years of the 21st century as an ‘important period of strategic opportunity’ for China. China under Hu Jintao’s leadership has chosen a new path of peaceful rise. To facilitate such a peaceful rise, Chinese Communist Party has gradually adopted a soft power strategy. We see building soft power as a means as well as the end of China’s peaceful rise. We argue China has a genuine desire for peace in her rise and China’s peaceful rise may not be impossible. Based on existing literature, we expand the sources of soft power to six pillars: cultural attractiveness, political values, development model, international institutions, international image, and economic temptation. We also identify three channels for wielding soft power: formal, economic, and cultural diplomacies. Putting all the basics together, we have proposed an integrative model of soft power. Accordingly, we analyze the sources and limits of China’s soft power and suggest how to improve it in these six areas.


Peaceful Rise Soft Power China Development Model Beijing Consensus Culture 



Xin Li thanks Danish Otto Monsted Fond for its financial support for participating and presenting an earlier draft of this paper at the conference China’s 30 years of ‘Opening up and reform’: Continuities and Change, held in University of Nottingham Ningbo China, 16–19 September 2009. He also thanks Danish EAC Foundation for sponsoring his PhD study at Copenhagen Business School.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark

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