China’s global influence – soft power, sharp power, hard power?

Conference room C

2018 marked the 40th anniversary of China’s economic reform and opening up. Today China’s investments are global, enabled by new mechanisms and initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the trillion-dollar Belt-and-Road initiative. The country’s strategic investment in communication infrastructure positions China as one of the leading players in future technologies. These developments have brought economic benefits to countries, among other positive externalities. At the same time, they have cast China’s global influence apparatus in the spotlight. Examples include various countries’ intelligence assessment of Chinese political influence and newly-enacted laws targeting foreign influence. What can we learn about China’s influence in countries near and far? In what form will it manifest itself in the information environment?