A ‘new global battle’ of ideas? Chinese ‘connectivity politics’ as sharp power


Under President Xi Jinping, China has established a distinct and global form of connectivity politics, say analysts Paul Kohlenberg and Nadine Godehardt:

This includes investment in infrastructure and international lending, broadening cooperation with and influencing institutions in research, finance and policymaking, acquiring international media houses and disseminating technical and regulatory standards. Thus, connectivity politics is driven by China’s strategic understanding that power and connectivity are closely interlinked.

From Beijing’s point of view, political room for manoeuvre stems less from a new, authoritarian “sharp power” – part os what former US presidential candidate calls “a new global battle” – but rather from the consistent enforcement of proactive ‘connectivity power’, they write in an article originally published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

With one eye on Australia, where Beijing has made deep inroads into local and national politics, the United States is struggling to come to grips with the scale and scope of Chinese influence operations, Foreign Policy reports.

“A significant part of the political interference in democracies by modern authoritarian states relies on forms of camouflage through which actors in the democracies don’t really understand who they are dealing with,” says Christopher Walker, co-author of the National Endowment for Democracy’s report on Beijing’s sharp power.

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States holds a forum on “Chinese Influence Operations in the United States: Shedding Some Light on all the Heat.” Panelists include Huiyao Wang, founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization; Kaiser Kuo, editor at large of Supchina.com; Robert Daly, director of the WWC Kissinger Institute; and Sandy Pho, senior program associate at the WWC Kissinger Institute.

10 a.m.: May 9, 2018. Venue: Woodrow Wilson Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Sixth Floor, Auditorium, Washington, D.C.


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