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"The Chinese Dream:" : Does it help or hurt China's world image (or soft power)?

English Abstract

The past decades have witnessed the rapid modernization of China in the globalized world. As the economy maintained stable, China has started to put more emphasize on the soft power. There is a growing confidence about the way in which China sees its national image. In the past decade, China-threat-theory was mostly mentioned when discussing the rise of China. Chinese voices explain China’s role in the world through concepts such as ‘great power diplomacy’, ‘responsible power’, ‘China opportunity’, ‘China’s rise’ and ‘peaceful rise’. With this background, China’s state president Xi Jinping, trying to build a brand new image of China, created a new proposal: The Chinese Dream (China Dream). It was first mentioned on November 29, 2012, and soon became the important guiding ideology and ruling idea of China. Xi defined the Chinese dream as to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, it is the greatest dream of the Chinese nation in modern times; and he is determined that the dream can be achieved (Boc 2015). However, what is the Chinese Dream (China Dream)? Is it a dream of a Chinese citizen, or a dream of Xi, or a collective dream of the nation of China? Official explanations along with extended interpretation are seen domestically and internationally. Since this newly envisaged concept by Xi Jinping has arisen much attention throughout the international society. The “China Dream” serves both as a political idea and slogan and begins a new amelioration of the national image of China. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the purpose of Chinese Dream proposal and the implication of the Chinese Dream on China’s national image. News coverage of selected Chinese and American medias, on the Chinese Dream will be analyzed as a 6 supporting source to the interpretation of the Chinese Dream. This thesis intends to study the meaning of Chinese Dream (China Dream); and most importantly, China’s construction of self-image through the Chinese Dream and its reception of its mirrorimage of the American Media. The China Dream-related news coverage on New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, China Daily, People’s Daily and Xinhua Net in the period from 29th. Nov. 2012 to 31st. Dec. 2013 will be the basis of analysis for this study. The comparison of six media from China and USA shows that, although ‘The Chinese Dream’ (China Dream) Proposal is a brand new phrase, the reporting tendency is still largely affected by the different political and cultural notions. No matter what the proposal is like, China’s economic growth, military force and the bilateral relationship with neighboring countries are the top concerns of the American media. On the other hand, China’s national image has bettered from a total threat to a trustful competitor. Above all, the notion of the Chinese Dream has shortened the distance of the foreign view and the Chinese thinking. For ‘Dream’ is a commonly accepted positive notion in the international community. It is a good beginning of the betterment of China’s national image construction.

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Li, Li


Faculty of Social Sciences


Department of Government and Public Administration




China -- Civilization -- 1949-

China -- Foreign relations -- 1949-

China -- International status


Wang Jianwei

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