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Soft power flourishes in ancient emerging country

By Tom Clifford | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-15 07:16

Soft power flourishes in ancient emerging country

Soft power, the ability to influence, is a hard thing to carry off. The wording may be new, but it is not a new phenomenon. China's influence had already spread far and wide, long before the phrase emerged. But this happened before copyrights were ever thought of. Fireworks, table tennis and chopsticks all enjoy overseas appeal without any compensation.

Invented today, under a binding legal contract, they would be worth billions of dollars in annual revenue. And being soft means you don't always get the credit when it is due. It was Chinese tea that caused the British to lose their American colonies. The issues were tax and representation but it was Chinese tea, at the time more valuable than gold, that was thrown into Boston harbor. If the dumped boxes had been carrying say, beetroot, then it would have been a different story. The Boston Tea Party should be called, under copyright of course, the Boston Chinese Tea Party.

It is one thing not recognizing it from centuries ago, it's another not recognizing it today. We are witnessing, for the first time, an economic power that is not globally imperialistic making a world of difference.

Soft power flourishes in ancient emerging country

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