Michael D. Barr is Associate Professor in International Relations, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
Who's Afraid of China?: The Challenge of Chinese Soft Powerby Michael Barr
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
If China suddenly democratized, would it cease being labelled as a threat? This provocative book argues that fears of China often say as much about those who hold them as they do about the rising power itself. It focuses not on the usual trope of economic and military might, but on China's growing cultural influence and the connections between China's domestic politics and its attempts to brand itself internationally. Using examples from film, education, media, politics and art, Who's Afraid of China? is both an introduction to Chinese soft power and a critical analysis of international reaction to it. It examines how the West's own past, hopes and fears shape the way it thinks about and engages with China and argues that the rising power touches a nerve in the Western psyche, presenting a fundamental challenge to ideas about modernity, history and international relations.
Meet the Author
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
This is a well done spin through the world of image creation around China. We see the perils of promoting brand China--where one person's wholesome virtue is another's lurking evil. What are those people up to with all that supposedly altruistic development work in Africa? How come they are pushing Confucius Institutes in a campus near you? Can they pull their own country out of 100th place in per-capita income ranking? Are Chinese super-moms gonna destroy childhood as we know it? What are Chinese people thinking about the future world order? What is the Yellow Man's burden? The book is serious, but it's short and doesn't belabor its points. As Barr spins amusing tales, he looks at fear. What do Western people fear as their sense of being the center of the world shifts? I like the story about a woman who attended a series U.S. Commission on National Security in the 21st Century meetings in early 2001. The woman repeatedly insisted that a showdown for world supremacy was inevitable with China. China would only get stronger with each passing year, and the longer the war was put off, the worse it would be. The sooner the U.S. attacked, the better. Fortunately, most members of the Commission did not accept the inevitability. The woman was Lynne Cheney. Since Barr is married to a Chinese woman, I figure he has relevant experience on the balance between fear and opportunity in the multi-polar world. He looks at what our fears and hopes say about ourselves, and quite enjoys himself doing it. --author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization