Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 249–266 | Cite as

Pursuing Soft Power through the Confucius Institute: a Large-N Analysis

  • Wei-hao Huang
  • Jun XiangEmail author


In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have devoted close attention to China’s expanded soft power, and many of them have examined the establishment of Confucius Institutes around the world. However, despite the ample scholarship on the Confucius Institute, a large-N empirical assessment is missing. In this study, we make an original and important contribution to the literature by conducting a large-N empirical analysis to demonstrate how China employs the Confucius Institute to maximize soft power in the era of China’s rise. Based on a new dataset that includes all world countries from 2004 to 2014, our large-N analysis shows that the Confucius Institute is designed to promote China’s educational, economic, and political interests altogether. These interesting empirical findings constitute arguably the first systematic evidence to demonstrate how China designs the Confucius Institute to maximize soft power.


China’s rise Soft power The Confucius Institute Large-N analysis Three interests 



Earlier versions of this paper have been presented at the 2015 American Association for Chinese Studies annual conference, the 2017 Southern Political Science Association annual conference, and the 2017 Midwest Political Science Association annual conference. We thank Chiou Yi-hung, Don Lien, Austin Wang, and the panel participants for their comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Political ScienceAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Division of Global AffairsRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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