Sunday, April 30, 2017

China's soft power exposure: An opportunity for Bangladesh

Md Nadim Aktar,

image from article

Under major diplomatic initiatives and foreign policy reforms China has been putting enormous effort to lead the republic in the direction of peaceful rise enunciating the idea of peaceful development, demonstrates its soft power exposure. To that end from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping a several policy changes were recommended and gradually introduced to expose it as a responsible stakeholder in the global community. 

It is obvious that from the time of 2003 to until now the USA and other major powers have been waging war and projecting hard power as the way to consolidate power and lead their sphere of influence. China, on the other hand, holds a quasi-role not to appoint all the conflict concentrates purely on image build up advocating peace and development which reflects Beijing's superior stand than the USA. 

China's long-established history, cultural appeal with rich cultural relics and historical site, large investment in public diplomacy, strong commitment to cultural exchange and education sector laid the ground of its soft power implication. Taking flavour from these substances, China is using its diplomacy with full rhythm investing hundreds of billions of dollars to manipulate world consent what the USA did after the Second World War.  

When we evaluate the current dictum of China's policy decoration, it is apparent that China has established a deep linkage between economic influence and soft power orientation to implement its goal to become an actual hegemony. To do so, China takes the initiatives of regional connectivity through link road and infrastructure framework which would alleviate Beijing's easy access to dominate economic affairs as well as give it additional leverage on manipulating public consent in a large scale. 

In this policy recommendation, China has also set the goal to make Xinhua and CCTV as global news network with true international standard. Its aim is to confront the monopoly of western media. Therefore, it has already launched a multi-floor TV studio complex in Washington DC. 

China has been actively establishing a broad network of Confucius institute on the model of British council and French Alliance and set up numbers of classroom worldwide to spread language and culture. It has also increased a considerable number of scholarships and research programme offered by the Confucius institute.

In this ongoing tendency of moving forward Asia pacific region has always been a geo-political pivot to Beijing where Bangladesh maintains a very substantive relation in good faith with mutual understanding. 

Moreover, now our bilateral relations are not just limited to economic, diplomatic or geo-strategic peripheries, rather we have achieved a momentous progress on cultural exchange, education, sports, scientific research, press and publication. This is what a very special feature of our bilateral relation resorted from 1779 [sic] when Bangladesh and China entered into an agreement of cooperation on cultural exchange, sports and education.

Bangladesh is a country with 35 per cent youth. This country has an opportunity to use the benefit of this demographic dividend in the years to come. To transform this huge youthful population into potential manpower is one of the major challenges. 

To take these challenges into consideration Bangladesh has continued to resort its effort to shift its population into full potential where China's response is likely to be more cordial. China has been granting a huge number of Bangladeshi students and academics under the direct sponsorship of their government offering accommodation, living allowance, tuition fees, and comprehensive medical insurance. 
At present, approximately three million Bangladeshi are enrolled in higher education in abroad and University Grants Commission projects that the total number will climb 4.6 million by 2026 where China would be one of the leading destinations to the students for Bachelor, Masters, and PhD programmes. 

China's unprecedented economic growth and their capacity to produce everything from needles to submarine have accomplished it as the suppliers of the world. It has business correspondence with every nation in every corner of the world. In this context, the Chinese language has occupied a great attention where Chinese language speaking community can add extra benefit in any terms of bilateral collaborations of a country. 

Thus the Chinese language has opened a new dimension in the global job market where students from the different continent are learning Chinese to keep them consistent with running stance of globalization. Bangladesh is no exception where Confucius institute is playing a key role to teach Chinese language. In one hand it helps us maintain fruitful communication with Chinese entrepreneur; on the other, it creates a new scope in our job market. At present, a huge number of youth are working in Chinese firms and joint ventured government project.

However in the accelerating process of development Bangladesh has been projected as Asian tiger in terms of economic growth (GDP) and its progress in education, health, and infrastructure has evidently enhanced its confidence to go. But still, Bangladesh has some serious drawbacks. 

The country has been failing to get the full advantage from its huge manpower, need to pay more attention to engender potential manpower resources by upgrading education system with global standard, promoting scholarly exchange programme, building world class universities with an emphasis on research. 

Md Nadim Aktar is a PhD scholar in School of Law, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, China - See more at:

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