Enhancing China’s National Image Through Culture Festivals: A Case Study of China Culture Years in Europe

  • Christina MaagsEmail author
Research Article


Since the mid-2000s, the PRC has increasingly focused on pursuing cultural diplomacy abroad to improve its national image and enhance cultural soft power. Although China’s cultural “Charm Offensive” has not gone unnoticed, a variety of specific activities have not been subject to research so far. This paper, therefore, attempts to fill this research gap by analyzing Chinese state-level cultural diplomacy through a comparative case study of three China Culture Year events held in France (2004), Italy (2010), and Germany (2012). These findings are subsequently compared to the China Culture Year in Australia (2012), thereby allowing the identification of spatial variations. I argue that the Chinese government applies a general approach of organizing the events abroad by making use of local institutions. At the same time, through the strategic selection of events, the festivals portray distinct national images that transmit particular narratives of self-presentation to the European audience and take into account country-specific preferences.


China Europe Cultural diplomacy Soft power National images China Culture Year 


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Copyright information

© Fudan University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frankfurt am MainGermany

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