Stimson in the News

Yun Sun quoted in Middle East Institute on Chinese soft power

By Yun Sun
in Program

The Confucius Institute of the University of Dubai is housed in a building named Masaood, a tall structure found off a dusty roundabout about two miles west of the airport. On the day I visit, the UAE is observing National Day, and near the building’s entrance Emirati flags wave in wind smelling of the grilled meat being served as part of a nearby celebration. Up on the fifth floor, where the Institute is housed, signage is in both Arabic and Chinese. Students learn various levels of Mandarin in pristine classrooms.

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Such a label was carefully chosen vis-à-vis the goal of the Institutes, says Yun Sun, a fellow with the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. “The issue of soft power, in the Chinese context, originates from a belief that the world is suspicious of China’s rise. The thinking goes that if people know China better, they will have a better reaction to China’s foreign policy.”

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