China's Soft Power Strategy in the Mediterranean Region
- Mareike Ohlberg, Senior Fellow, GMF
- Roie Yellinek, Non-Resident Scholar, MEI
- Franziska Luettge, Coordinator Asia Program, GMF
China’s engagement strategy in the Mediterranean region is centered more on soft power than hard power, outlining an approach based on economic and cultural influence. China has emphasized its economic strengths building a wide array of commercial interests in the region, converting financial wealth into soft power. Cultural ties have also played an essential part in this process. The opening of “Confucius Institutes” along the region, aimed at disseminating Chinese language and culture, has played an important role and has been accompanied by the establishment of international media outlets to establish greater control over narratives about China, and through people-to-people exchanges.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is also part of China’s “peaceful rise strategy,” representing one of China’s primary vehicles for soft power projection. This project has led China to invest substantially in the region: Infrastructures, ports, transport, real estate, but also technology, finance, and logistics are all sectors of interest under the BRI, outlining China’s willingness to extend its influence through its financial strength. What is the degree of success of China’s soft power strategy? How has the coronavirus crisis impacted this strategy? While debate abounds over whether promoting China’s traditions, values, language, and culture can win China more friends, is China’s vast investment in soft power bringing results?
If you have any questions, please contact Alberto Tagliapietra at [email protected].