Wednesday, January 04, 2017

China’s ‘Soft Powerlessness’

Ultra-nationalistic Chinese citizens and organizations are out of control on the Internet and harassing Beijing’s opponents in ways that often undermine the state’s interests. 

As China’s comprehensive national power continues to grow, so has the nationalist sentiment among Chinese citizens, which in recent years has become an extremely vocal component of China’s external policy. But in the areas where state power has failed to translate into policy successes, such as in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea, those expressions of nationalistic fervor have often turned to frustrated rage rather than a tool of persuasion or “soft power.” 

When it comes to Taiwan, the Chinese consternation has been most apparent online, largely due to the election of Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in January 2016 and the abject failure of eight years of rapprochement under M. Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, during which Beijing hoped to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese and thereby facilitate unification. 

Continues here.

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