China's exercise of soft power : a comparative study

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Asian Studies

First Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paul Kowert

Third Advisor's Name

Steven Heine

Date of Defense



This study compares and contrasts China's soft power exercise with that of America and Japan. The purpose of this comparative study is to explore similar and different roles of which government and non-governmental agents play in wielding soft power. This study compares these three nation's soft power exercise from three dimensions: culture, economy, and foreign policy. Additionally, in order to examine the practice of government and non-governmental agents in depth, this study also includes a case study that compares China's Confucius Institute with America's the Fulbright Program and Japan's the JET Program. This study argues that in comparison with America and Japan, China's soft power strategy is the most government-centered. America's soft power is the least government-centered. Japan is the middle case. While China's government has contributed significantly to the growth of China's soft power in the 21th century, China's non-governmental agents play a less effective role that that of America and Japan's non-governmental agents.



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