The Pursuit of Harmony and Win-win: China's Soft Power and its Overseas Compatriot (Hexie yu gongying: Haiwai qiaobao yu zhongguo ruanshili) ed. by Chen Yiping (review)
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Reviewed by
Chen Yiping, ed. The Pursuit of Harmony and Win-win: China's Soft Power and its Overseas Compatriot (Hexie yu gongying: Haiwai qiaobao yu zhongguo ruanshili). Guangzhou, China: Jinan University Press, 2012. 285 pp. ¥46.00 RMB sc.

The concept of soft power was pioneered and interpreted by Professor Joseph Nye, former Dean of John F. Kennedy School of Government, in the early 1990s, and was applied in the process of implementation of foreign policy by the United States government. Nye holds that soft power is the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than through coercion or payment, and mainly encompasses attractiveness, appeal, and influence in terms of culture, value, institution and foreign policy, etc. Soft power diplomacy has played a positive role in restoring and improving the severely broken international image of the United States in the Post-Cold War era. After 30 years of reform and opening up, the current hard power of China has grown remarkably. However, international society disagrees on the national image and future direction of China's development. Discussions of the rise of China, the threat of China, the opportunity of China and the collapse of China flux and reflux unceasingly, misleading global public perception of China. As a result, while China should continue to insist on the path of [End Page 143] peaceful development, it should endeavour to reduce other countries' concerns and anxieties toward China's fast-growing power. Therefore, how to expand China's soft power in international interaction appears to be highly imperative. The book, The Pursuit of Harmony and Win-win: China's Soft Power and Its Overseas Compatriot, has made a detailed analysis of the relations between overseas Chinese and China's soft power, which not only provides a brand new theoretical perspective on studies of overseas Chinese and work regarding overseas Chinese affairs, but also offers valuable solutions and recommendations regarding China's strategy and policy of overseas Chinese affairs.

This book is divided into four sections including ten chapters. In the first section, the research group first discusses theories about the connotation of soft power at home and abroad, and then expounds the close relations between overseas Chinese and the soft power of China, the role of overseas Chinese in China's soft power construction and development, and the mechanisms and approaches through which overseas Chinese influence China's soft power. The authors then analyze the relations between those new developments of pluralist identities among overseas Chinese (including ethnic, political, and cultural identities) and the soft power of China in a new era. And the group points out from a theoretical perspective that major factors influencing pluralist identity that are trending among overseas Chinese include the following: overseas Chinese communities; resident countries; China as a nation; the relationship between China and resident countries; and the tendency toward globalization and transnationalism.

In the second and third sections (the fields, regions and countries), the research group first carries out a detailed analysis of the important roles played by overseas Chinese in China's soft power buildup in terms of the following considerations: overseas Chinese and public diplomacy of China; Chinese media and the construction of China's national image; the culture of overseas Chinese and cultural soft power of China; and domestic educational institutions for overseas Chinese and China's cultural soft power. In considering these factors, the authors put forward some corresponding strategies. Second, the group conducts empirical studies of the positive contribution of overseas Chinese in the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia, the three most concentrated residential countries and regions for overseas Chinese, regarding the growing soft power of China, and specifies those challenges and obstacles influencing full-scale involvement of overseas Chinese in the process of China's soft power buildup.

In the final section (the solutions and recommendations), the research group highly appreciates the positive effect of China's various levels of governments' work regarding overseas Chinese affairs dealing with the construction and improvement of national soft power in the fields of politics, economy, culture, and society. And [End Page 144] then, from the perspective of soft power, the group raises ten...