Here are several stories that show contradicting trends in China’s global influence:
- China’s clout has grown for the second year in a row, according to an annual report called the “Soft Power 30 Index” that rates countries based on their influence and reputation in government, culture, education, global engagement, enterprise, and digital affairs. China now ranks as the world’s 25th most influential country — by non-military criteria — while the U.S. slid down to number three after France and the U.K. as Trump became president.
- But the Financial Times released the results (paywall) of an investigation into China’s efforts to export its high-speed rail technology and brand China as a benevolent country seeking to connect the world through its Belt and Road Initiative. The FT found that “failed schemes, and some that are under way, have stoked suspicion, public animosity and mountains of debt in countries that Beijing had hoped to woo.”
- One area that China’s rise continues unabated is in military technology. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) on “growing evidence that military drones exported by China have recently been deployed in conflicts in the Mideast and Africa by several countries, including U.S. allies that the U.S. blocked from buying American models.”
- But military technology is not soft power. For more on China’s “soft power,” and to hear from the man who coined that term, listen to a recent Sinica Podcast with Joseph Nye, Jr.
- Xi Jinping and allies
All the signs that China’s Xi Jinping is planning on a third term / Quartz
New party boss of Chongqing demands banishment of ‘evil legacy’ of Bo Xilai / Reuters
China rolls out TV series eulogizing Xi Jinping ahead of key congress / SCMP
How’s an investor in The Peninsula’s holding company linked to Xi Jinping’s right-hand man? / SCMP
- Hong Kong
‘I won’t give up fighting’: Barred Hong Kong politician pushes back against Beijing / The Guardian
Opinion: The long arm of China’s law is coming down heavy on Hong Kong / Foreign Policy
Colleagues of Princeton University scholar convicted of spying in Iran express shock / NYT (paywall)
Xiyue Wang, sentenced to 10 years in prison, is an American citizen born in Beijing.
China stealth boycott looms for Taiwan’s biggest sporting event / Bloomberg
- Border tensions with India and Bhutan
What’s driving the India-China standoff at Doklam? / Diplomat