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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).
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。
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.
//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.
- 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.
//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.