A rising and globalizing China has evoked mixed reactions. There is a growing body of literature that highlights China's military hegemonic tendencies. This has overshadowed the Chinese efforts at promoting co-operative interdependence, of which the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a symbol and emerging reality. This paper contextualizes the BRI, along with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), to examine and explore the symbols, tools and contours of the Chinese soft power. This study contends that, despite apprehensions by critics about China's motives underlying the BRI, for the participant countries it offers infrastructural development through economic investment and educational exchanges that showcase Chinese culture and its soft power. Do the participating countries find these offers appealing? This raises two critical questions: Does China's economic development oriented soft power through BRI obviates its military designs? Does China have the tools that Joseph Nye conceptualizes for the soft power that a global power requires? This study makes a critical appraisal of Joseph Nye's concept of Soft Power and analyses how the Chinese scholars and policy makers are transforming its usage and conceptual applicability as China stands for globalization, multilateralism, common and shared goals for the planet and humanity. Given COVID 19, China's soft power appeal could have political and security implications for the global world order.


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pp. 61-94
Launched on MUSE
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