This is an excellent overview and should have some impact. My opinion is that China has failed to maximise its soft-power opportunities considerably, and that at low cost and small effort this can be rectified. In particular, the next months shall see a hotting up and escalation of the soft power war of words between China and the USA, and this will spread quicky through the Anglophone world sprecifically, followed by Europe and the rest of the globe.

When China does defend itself it tends to be quite effective, and one reason for this is that it already has a huge amount of commercial power, a form that may be taken as lying between soft power proper and hard power. Where China's main trading partners are spread throughout the world increasingly, the USA quite amazingly has as its major commodity trading partners Canada and Mexico, its border neighbours. This spells advantages that are quite natural for China but can be better triggered by being more forthright concerning such issues as minorities and civil rights - China actually has good arguments in respect of both but they need careful but fulsome airing, and more historical accounts shgould be offered. Most Europeans have quite vague knowledge of the historical relations of their countries and China, especially since the 1860s.

Much of the material in the present paper is useful and perfectly open to intelligent non-academic readers, and many of such points may be carried by Chinese diplomats, politicians, and statesmen. but opportunities have been missed far too often. How many western folk have more than an inkling of the role ofChina and Chinese trade in the recovery from the financial disasters of 2007 onwards? Few.

Finally, China must look at criticism from those who study the nation and its history - sympathy, even friedship, does not mean acquiescence in all important matters, the spirit of critique can be found within the Chinese tradition on many levels, from the ancient intelligentsia to the 20th century Marxists, and this needs revival and even some welcoming.

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Thank you Prof. Inkster for reading and sharing insights on this subject. A few years back, there were sporadic talks about Beijing Consensus, a concept coined by a Western scholar, but China was very cautious and never officially embraced it. It seems that for decades China has been striving to stay away from the reputation of being a system-exporter, which can easily be regarded as a revisionist move. The new term, as you said, can be seen as a tool for expanding soft power. And it also reflects the resolve and confidence for today’s China to openly introduce an alternative to the Western path.

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Yes. A short addition concerning the relations of the new conception to the Maoist type of Chinee path to socialism might also be useful? They rae very different but have parallel functions to an extent. Obviously the recent pathway as you indicate opens up many possibilities of conciliation with USA and the west more generally especially through the clear notion that China will contiue with economic liberalisation as part and parcel of progress more generally.

A small note - I would point out too that for a long time the modernisation of China explicitly allowed for importation of western methods and technologies alongside a stipulation of an independent and different pathway in political economy. I have looked at this in detail in Ian Inkster, (2015) Economy, Technology, and the Huttonian

Enlightenment: Approaches to China in the International Political Economy since

the Early Twentieth Century, The International History Review, 37:4, 809-840,

Ian Inkster

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