East Asia

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 3–33 | Cite as

Talking up China: An analysis of China’s rising cultural power and global promotion of the Chinese language

  • Sheng Ding
  • Robert A. Saunders


This essay focuses on the remarkable rise of China from a veritable hermit state in the 1960s to a cultural lodestone in the early 21st century. We explore the country's growing cultural power and the implications of the PRC's increasing promotion of the Chinese language as a global idiom. Our findings suggest that while China faces significant internal and external barriers to fully achieving its potential as a global cultural power, recent efforts by Beijing to promote the Chinese language and Mandarin's increasing utility as a lingua franca for trade have significantly increased the resonance of Chinese culture abroad, especially in the Pacific rim. With this increase in cultural influence beyond its borders, we argue that China's “soft power” is also in ascendancy.


soft power Confucius Institute Chinese language cultural globalization rise of China Pacific Rim 


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheng Ding
  • Robert A. Saunders

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