Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 36–46 | Cite as

The evolution of Chinese public diplomacy and the rise of think tanks

  • Hak Yin LiEmail author
  • Seanon Wong
Original Article


The evolution and change of Chinese public diplomacy can be seen from panda diplomacy, the Confucius Institutes, Chinese mass media’s “going out” strategy as well as various international events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. Some substantial studies have found that these Chinese public diplomacies could not help much in terms of improving China’s image or enhancing Western understanding of China. This article aims at examining the latest Chinese policy instrument—think tanks—to see if they can boost Chinese soft power. In addition, this article illustrates the Chinese think tanks from an institutional perspective by studying their contribution in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative through the case studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY). The Chinese think tanks have played an important role in targeting foreign publics and working on track II diplomacy. However, there is still room for improvement. The major sources of this article are derived from published materials, websites of Chinese institutions and interviews.


Chinese public diplomacy Soft power Think tanks Tack II diplomacy 



The authors would like to express their appreciation to the Global China Research Programme of the Chinese University of Hong Kong for sponsoring a field trip to Beijing.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United CollegeThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.United CollegeThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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