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Manifestation of the PRC’s Soft Power Policy in Finding Mr. Right (Essay Sample)


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Manifestation of the PRC’s Soft Power Policy in Finding Mr. Right

The Chinese film industry has undergone various changes over the years. Though the world cinema generally refers to the cinema of the world, the conflict between national and transnational cinemas has persisted for a long time in China (Hui 2017, p. 165). The transnational cinema has historically faced resistance either in terms of a refusal or through imitation. The period between 1949 and 1994 was particularly harsh for transnational cinema such as the US films. Early in this period, US films were outrightly rejected for fear of cultural contamination and due to challenges in revenue sharing. A quota system was introduced towards the end of the period that aimed at importing 10 foreign films every year. This move was aimed at using Hollywood for a national chain, but it marked the shift in the industry, which ultimately led to the acceptance of transnational cinema. This acceptance hurts the local film industry. 70% of the locally made films did not break even. However, this led to the improvement of the subsequent films, which led to better figures at the box office. Hero, released in 2002 was among the first Chinese films to record massive success at the box office. The film had all the features of a blockbuster; large budget, cast in spectacular locations, used special effects, cast popular characters, and had a large size of the cast including extras. As the Chinese film industry grew, themes that seem to spread China’s soft power got integrated into the films. Through this technique, China used persuasion rather than coercion to strengthen certain values at home and also project them internationally. Film and media became a tool for cultural diplomacy (Su 2014, p. 110). This paper seeks to review the Chinese movie, Finding Mr. Right, and analyze how the People’s Republic of China’s soft power policy is manifested in the film. The role that globalization and Hollywood have had on the Chinese film industry will also be explored.

PRC’s Soft Power Policy

In international politics, soft power is the ability of a country to get what it wants through persuasion rather than coercion. Persuasion could be in the form of values, culture, and policies (Ipek 2015, p. 190). In its quest to become a global superpower, The People’s Republic of China has been instrumental in changing the world’s view of the country through soft power. In a 2014 speech, Xi Jinping mentioned his country’s quest to disseminate its charming culture to the rest of the world using the soft power policy. The elements that his government intended to project onto the world included its rich history and cultural diversity, cultural and economic development as well as the good governance. This would be key to improving the cultural strength and competitiveness of China (Hall 2016). Participation in peacekeeping missions, giving of financial aid, investing in other countries, as well as educational and cultural exchanges are some of the avenues that the country has used to project its soft power policy onto the world. Starting with South East Asia, The People’s Republic of China has succeeded in building the reputation of a responsible regional powerhouse by providing technological and financial assistance to its neighbors such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, among others (Ali 2016).

On top of financial and technological aid, the film and media industry is being used by China as an important tool for spreading the soft power policy. The Chinese film industry has undergone a massive transformation over the y...

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