“Overseas Chinese and Soft Power” Guest Lecture
On the afternoon of May 28, Prof. Chen Yiping, deputy dean of the Academy of Overseas Chinese Studies, School of International Studies, Jinan University, gave a guest lecture at College of International Education, Zhejiang Normal University. The lecture was on the theory and practice of overseas Chinese and national soft power. The lecture was hosted by Prof. Wang Xiao, director of the Overseas Chinese and Cultural Communication Research Center at the college.
At the beginning of the lecture, Prof. Chen introduced China’s international image and cultural rejuvenation. He put forward an important proposition: Overseas Chinese can play an important role in the construction of China’s soft power.
Prof. Chen analyzed the development of overseas Chinese. There is a large number of overseas Chinese, and many of them are professionals from all walks of life. On the one hand, they have developed strong bonds with their local communities, and their influence has increased. On the other hand, they are tied with the motherland and their hometowns, with more frequent cooperations and contact over the years. Chen pointed out that the mechanism that overseas Chinese have on China’s soft power involves four aspects: the behavioral and conceptual cultures; the platform and bridge role of overseas Chinese communities; overseas Chinese media and education; and the personal channel of some elites.
In terms of challenges, Chen thinks that they lie in the interference of some Western countries and communities, international relations, the local policies, differences among groups, their identity recognition, as well as the issues China is facing at the moment of societal transformation.
He emphasized that “in recent years, the focus of China’s overseas affairs has changed greatly with the national economic and technological development strategies, the overall situation of diplomacy, and the strategy of promoting cultural soft power.” He expressed his opinions on the reconstruction of the theory of overseas Chinese affairs from the perspective of soft power.
“First, the harmonious development of overseas Chinese societies is the prerequisite for the construction of soft power,” he said. “Second, the principle of win-win cooperation is the foundation of the soft power construction. Third, cultural identity and national identity are the basis. Furthermore, international diplomacy is the working mechanism. Fifth, the country’s image. And finally, long-term perspective.”
Prof. Wang summarized Prof. Chen’s speech. At the same time, Prof. Wang voiced his opinions on constructing China’s image, improving Chinese cultural dissemination overseas, optimizing the domestic management of overseas Chinese affairs, and deepening the understanding of “Chinese stories.” He also proposed several research ideas on overseas Chinese.
Finally, Prof. Wang once again expressed his gratitude to Prof. Chen for his wonderful lecture. The lecture was concluded with the warm applause of the teachers and students. (By Xu Xiumin, translated by Lin Yuqin, edited by Mariam Ayad)