Economy and culture: two tracks for China's soft power in Italy

This chapter seeks to illustrate the modalities through which Chinese soft power has been developing in Italy. It demonstrates how Beijing’s effort have primarily targeted two key areas: the economy and culture. Economic soft power has contributed to promoting the view of China as the main market for new opportunity; and culturally, China has been leveraging on the shared ‘ancient civilization’ narrative, as well as contacts in the academic sector. Ultimately, although Chinese efforts have contributed to maintaining a positive perception of China among Italians, more contacts between the Italian population and China, as well as increasing media coverage of China in Italy, have also led to a better understanding of the country, which includes its pitfalls.

in Ties Dams, Xiaoxue Martin and Vera Kranenburg (eds), China’s Soft Power in Europe: Falling on Hard Times. A Report by the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC), The Hague, Clingendael, April 2021, p. 52-56
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