Sharp Power: China’s Solution to Maintaining the Legitimacy of its Non-Interference Policy
Keywords:China, Soft Power, Sharp Power, Non-Interference, Australia, Argentina, Foreign Policy, Power, International Relations, Politics
Since the time of Mao Zedong, Chinese officials have promoted a foreign policy of non-interference. In the past, to obtain power
internationally, Chinese officials coupled non-interference with soft power mechanisms. Soft power is influence through attraction. However, with the onset of the 21st century the stance of the international community concerning non-interference shifted as it has recognized the limits of non-interference and sacrificed it in favor of protecting and promoting human rights. China, however, has held firm to its policy of non-interference. However, neither has it been willing to accept diminished influence in the world. Therefore, China’s solution is sharp power, a term that describes the way in which authoritarian regimes, specifically China and Russia, perforate the media and political spheres of other nations to manipulate and influence public and governmental perceptions.
Firstly, in this paper I will analyze China’s policy of noninterference in foreign affairs. Next, I will detail how the change within the international community has threatened China’s influence in the world and thereby caused Chinese officials to develop new methods of influence. In the second part of this paper, I explain how China’s use of sharp power has been manifested in the political spheres of Australia and Argentina. I argue that China has developed sharp power methods of influence because it seeks to bolster its power in the world, while still maintaining its policy of non-interference. Since sharp power was only coined as a term in December 2017, very few authors have tackled the way in which the CCP uses sharp power. None have yet linked China’s foreign policy of non-interference to its current use of sharp power. To address this lacuna, this essay traces China’s foreign policy rhetoric and action in the international community to discover the contradictory and clandestine nature of its current foreign policy, which uses non-interference as a guide to carry out increasing methods of sharp power to shape and sway international political policies.
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