China’s Soft Power: Culturalisation Along the Belt Road Corridors
This paper will explore the hypothesis that the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) advanced by Xi Jinping will lead to cultural exchanges and the formation of collaborative territorial spaces and cultural basins, in particular Chinese Diasporic cultural basins along the BRI corridors. Through the use of soft power in the form of foreign and humanitarian aids and expansion of education through the establishment of Confucius Institutes and classrooms and branch university campuses globally, China is persuading and nudging the global world to embrace its role on the global stage. It is also redefining the global transformation and its influence through its own terms. Through such actions, it will deepen China’s cultural connectivity with the countries along the BRI corridors. In so doing, it creates “collaborative territorial spaces” and cultural basins where it is not the economic, but cultural flows that will shape deep interactions and connectivity, resulting in the formation of hybridized imagined communities along shared social cultural interests. Here, nation-state boundary becomes less significant. In the foreseeable future, the effects of China’s use of soft power will ultimately led to what Hobsbawn and Ranger argued for an invented tradition.
The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.
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