Tai Ji Quan: How China Deals with American Soft War

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//CGCS媒体提供访问学者赵云泽关于中国对互联网内外美国软战争的反应。本文由媒介通讯记者 Nicole Wang 中文翻译,由媒介研究员Corey Abramson编辑。

“西方国际报导常常指出苏联的解体是一个保持对国际报导和类似机制投资的最好实例。通过对观点的改变和温和地准备一个聚点社会,使其民众增强对民主的渴望” (Monroe E. Price, 2012).

中国和前苏联一个主要的区别在于中国的灵活性,非侵略性,和对美国及其他西方国家态度的开放性。中国建立以市场为主体的经济,加入了世界贸易组织,并追寻由西方社会建立的完全开放式市场经济状态的认识。这些都在很多国际事务中创建和美国共同的利益关系。

总体来说,和苏联相比,中国和美国的合作更频繁。看中国繁荣的市场经济,很多人通常忘记中国仍然是以社会主义为主体。但是它仍旧是。

奈的软实力

作为广泛认可,约瑟夫 奈 (2004, 2008) 描述软实力为国家文化,政治价值观,和政策的结合来吸引对映射实体位置和文化的外界个体,组织,和政府。这样以来,映射的实体应该是美国。

美国对社会主义中国改变自己软战争政策了吗?美国不想让中国在政策和意识形态上相似吗?我认为就根本而言不是的,并且美国近些年来在软战争上加强了对中国的策略。由此问题变成了“中国如何仍旧保持社会主义,并且同时和美国保持友好合作关系”?可能说的更清楚些,中国如何应对美国的软战争?我们可以从中国的“太极拳”文化中找到些答案。

太极拳文化

太极拳是源于道教的一种武术,用来防强身健体。它的典型特征是“避免硬碰硬地对抗”,“以柔克刚”,“修炼内功”,“在对手的进攻中消耗他的能量,并找到他由于过分的野心而产生的薄弱之处”,和“防御的而不是攻击的”等。

因为太极拳在中国的悠久历史,它的影响力渗透到中国人每日的生活,行为,和逻辑思维。所以在很多方面,太极拳代表了中国人的行为方式。这个现象不仅仅在中国广为流传,在亚洲的很多国家也是如此。因而我称它为“太极拳文化”。

软战争和太极拳介入

在中国仍然可以看到美国对中国使用的软战争政策,但是这个现象有什么改变?

重大变化之一就是中国不再抵触美国的文化和价值观,并且相反地吸收和接纳很多西方的,中国的精英们认为是适合中国的西方的想法。举例来说,中国公民常常自由讨论美国的政治系统和事务。美国大选在中国甚至成为就是一个热门的话题。 就民众交流和教育来说,中国学生成为美国外国学生最大的群体,并且中国政府派出越来越多的学者,技术员,甚至是政府官员来美国学习访问。

所以如果美国软战争的目标是给中国人民植入西方的价值观,那软战争的目标是哪里?目标消失了(或者更好的说,转移了)- 这就是太极拳:当你狠狠地一击,目标消失了!

自然来说,事情不会那么的简单。中国的精英上层已经明白美国政治体系的优劣势,他们会朝西方政府体系迈进更深的一步吗?答案是不,或者不完全是。

韩寒的变革和民主

在2011年年初,一个非常有名的中国年轻作博客家,韩寒,在这个话题上发起了讨论。他主要讨论了他在中国变革和民主这个话题上他的看法。我们他发现不仅知识分子,连企业家也在议论中国更需要稳定和积极的改革,没有人会从动乱中受益。平稳的和太极拳号召加强内在相似,讨论中得到的共识是:中国真正的敌人是自己。

外界争论的缺乏?

中国几乎不用严厉的话语抨击其他国家,特别是美国。与此类似,我们经常看见中国政府在联合国上投弃权票,在很多国际热点话题上保持低调,尽管中国是联合国常任理事国之一。

或许我们可以从太极拳文化上更好理解这一外交政策:太极拳常常由外界看来非常神秘,而对于练习者来说仅仅只是把他或者她的能量集中在内在,而忽视外在。

至少到目前为止,可能太极拳文化削减了就时间上降低了美国的软战争的威力。好在太极拳强调“防御性的而不是和不具侵略性”。所以两个超级大国整体而言仍旧维持和平。

文献:

Monroe E. Price, Iran and the Soft War, 2398, International Journal of Communication 6 (2012).

Nye, J. S. (2004, May 1). The decline of America’s soft power. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59888/joseph-s-nye-jr/the-decline-of-americas-soft-power.

Nye, J. S. (2008). The powers to lead. New York: Oxford University Press.

//赵云泽是中国人民大学新闻传播学院(北京)副教授。他也是《新闻春秋》的编辑部主任,同时指导人大新闻学院学生媒体《新闻周报》。 他的研究方向主要涉及中国新闻史、跨媒体传播、媒介公信力、和新闻采编。他主持的研究课题有由中国教育部赞助的教育部课题“外国人对中国形象建构因素分析”和由RUC赞助的课题“中国新闻解释史”。他著有多部书籍,在诸多传播学和社会学杂志上发表过论文。

赵云泽博士毕业于中国人民大学,专业为新闻学。

 

 

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//CGCS Media Wire provides Visiting Scholar Yunze Zhao’s take on Chinese reactions to American soft power efforts both online and off. Translation to Chinese by Media Wire partner Nicole Wang.

“International broadcasters in the West often point to the collapse of the Soviet bloc as a triumphant example of a persevering investment in international broadcasting and similar mechanisms of altering opinion and softly preparing a target society to become a more intense demander of democratic change” (Monroe E. Price, 2012).

One main difference between China and the former Soviet Union is China’s flexible, non-aggressive and more open attitude toward America and other western nations. China has developed a market-oriented economy, participates in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and has been pursuing acknowledgement of full market economy status by western society. This, all while constructing a mutually beneficial relationship with America in many international affairs.

In a word, China is much more cooperative with the United States compared to the former Soviet Union. Looking at the prosperity of China’s market economy, many often forget that China is in fact a socialist entity, but it still is.

Nye on Soft Power

As has been widely accepted, Joseph Nye (2004, 2008) famously described soft power as some combination of national culture, political ideals, and policies that work to “attract” individuals, groups, and governments in other states to the positions and culture of the projecting entity. In this case, that projecting entity would be the United States.

Does America change its soft war policies towards a socialist China? Does America not want China to be similar in political system and ideology? I would say fundamentally “yes” and moreover, America even strengthened its tactics of soft-war toward China in recent years. Thus the question becomes, “how does China still insist on socialism, yet at the same time cooperate and maintain friendly diplomacy with America? Perhaps more clearly, how does China deal with America’s soft war? We may get some inspiration from the Chinese “Tai Ji Quan” culture.

Tai Ji Quan Culture

Tai Ji Quan is a kind of martial art originated from Taoism, which is used to build up body strength and defense, with fundamental characteristics including “avoiding fist-to-fist fighting”, “soft undermining hardness”, “strengthening the inward”, “consuming the attacking enemy’s energy and finding it’s disharmony caused by aggression”, “defending but not attacking”, etc.

As Tai Ji Quan has a long history in China, its influence has stepped into Chinese people’s daily lives, behavior, and logical thinking. So in many aspects, Tai Ji Quan represents the style of Chinese people’s ways and means. This phenomenon is widely popular in not just China, but most of Asia, so I call it “Tai Ji Quan Culture”.

Soft War and Tai Ji Quan Intersect

The tactics of soft war from the United States can still be seen in China, but what has changed in this situation?

One major change is that China is not directly repelling America’s culture and values, but instead absorbing and embracing many Western ideas that Chinese elites consider as proper and appropriate for China. For example, Chinese citizens often discuss America’s political system and affairs in public freely; the American election campaign became a hot topic in China. As for civil communication and education, Chinese students have become the largest source of foreign students in the U.S., the Chinese government has sent more and more scholars, technicians and even government officials to America to study abroad.

So if the goal of America’s soft war is to instill Western values to domestic Chinese citizens, where then is the target of the soft war? The target has disappeared (or better yet, relocated willingly) – that is the subtlety of Tai Ji Quan: when you hit with a heavy punch, the target disappears!

Naturally, things are just not that simple. As Chinese elites already know the advantages and disadvantages of the America political system, will they want to take steps towards embracing a more Western style of government? The answer is no – or not totally.

Hanhan on Revolution and Democracy

In early 2011, a famous young Chinese writer, Hanhan, sparked a discussion on this very topic. He mainly discussed his views on the topics of revolution and democracy within China. We found that not only the intellectuals, but also the entrepreneurs were arguing that China needed active reform coupled with stability, and that no one would greatly benefit from a major revolution. Similar to Tai Ji Quan calling for the practitioners to strengthen the inward, a consensus was made in the discussion: China’s real enemy is itself.

A Lack of External Contention?

It is seldom the Chinese government attacks other countries with severe words, especially the United States. Similarly, we often see the Chinese government give abstention votes in the U.N., keeping a low profile on hot international issues, despite China’s role as a permanent member state of the U.N.

Maybe we can better understand the subtlety of this diplomatic policy from Tai Ji Quan culture: the Tai Ji Quan practice often seems to be mysterious for the bystanders, as the one practicing appears to be just concentrating his or her energy inward, overlooking the outside.

Perhaps the Tai Ji Quan Culture undermined America’s attempts at soft war for the time being. Tai Ji Quan stresses the “defensive and non-aggressive”, so on the whole things will remain peaceful for both superpowers.

Reference:

//Yunze Zhao is an associate professor at the school of journalism and communication at Renmin University of China (RUC) in Beijing. He is also the Editorial Director of JOURNALISM EVOLUTION, and directs the community newspapers of NEWS WEEKLY in campus. His research focuses on media convergence, new media, cross culture communication and media history. He heads the research group “Factors of China’s Image Construction From Outside” which is funded by the Chinese Education Department and the group “Interpretive History of Chinese Journalism History” which is funded by RUC. He has published several books and articles in communications and sociological journals.

Yunze Zhao holds a Ph.D. in journalism from the Renmin University of China.

 

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