The following is a guest post by Pei Bin, director of China Partnership Development for BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. The opinions expressed are her own.
At the recent Aspen Institute Socrates Summer Seminar, I attended the session “Soft-Power: U.S. Leadership in a Hardball World,” moderated by Joseph Nye, a professor of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The session sparked my own reflections on the existence, or lack thereof, of soft power in China. While everyone at the Aspen Institute expressed strong and positive interest in China, the majority of the United States still views China as a threat.
As BSR’s President and CEO Aron Cramer once said: “One thing our countries have in common is that we see our weaknesses through the prism of the perceived power of the other country, and sometimes we lose sight of the balance between the two.”
As a Chinese national, China’s economic confidence is clear to me. But the country still lacks a strong global profile and image abroad, otherwise known as “soft power.”