soft power

Applicationof policy of “soft power” to the countries of Central Asia andemerged problems   Introduction   In recentyears People’s Republic of China was in many respects successful thanks to”soft power”, it helped to find the status of the great power. One ofthe main objectives of its use at the international level is a creation of anattractive image of the country. The second task is the aspiration to forceother countries to accept cultural values of this state and carrying out theideology. It is necessary to recognize success of carrying out this policy asthe Chinese leaders and the increasing role of China as global player on the worldscene.

It becomes all more the integrated into the international institutes,capitalist and modern state. Thanks to rapid economic growth modern China hasmore and more resources for the solution of the geopolitical and economicinterests which extend far away from the Asia- Pacific region. The People’sRepublic of China declares itself as about the leader in many spheres, inparticular already as well as about the spacefaring nation[1].    The beginningof realization of “Chinese soft power” is connected with coming topower of Hu Jintao elected in November, 2002 as the secretary general of theCentral Committee of the CPC, and in March, 2003 – the Chinese President. Inforeign policy of China of this period there were new accents connected withuse of traditional tools of “soft power”. In October, 2007 at theXVII congress of the Communist Party of China the policy of “cultural softpower” was sounded as the separate direction of foreign policy of thecountry.

In the performance at Hu Jintao’s congress noted that fact that”today culture becomes more and more important element of rivalry incumulative state power, and cultural development within the country has to befollowed by increase in its international influence”[2].Thus China began to extend the influence on geopolitical important region -Central Asia through the policy of “soft power”.   In the concept of Chinese “soft power” inCentral Asia it is possible to allocate three main directions. The first ofthem is carrying out the security policy directed to prevention of aggravationof an international situation. According to it China seeks to separate from anymilitary conflicts if they do not infringe directly on its territorialinterests, as in case of Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea. The seconddirection is relief action in economic and social area, health care, education,the humanitarian sphere. Unlike the West, Beijing at the same time does notconnect assistance with political and ideological affairs.

The third directionare actually the actions of cultural character designed to show all to theworld modern achievements of the People’s Republic of China.         Silk Road Economic belt as an instrument of Reddragon’s “soft power”   Actually, asthe statistics testifies, China pursued active economic policy in the countriesof Central Asia from the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. Afterthe announcement of the concept “One belt- one road[3]”it received the ideological embodiment.

   It ispossible to allocate two main objectives which are pursued by China atimplementation of this concept. First, this is gaining access to fields of rawmaterials and other mineral. By estimates of British Petroleum, by 2035 Chinawill become the largest importer of energy carriers[4],consuming a quarter of the electric power made in the world. In this regard,China seeks to get access to natural resources of Central Asia, in particular,to oil and gas.   The mainreserves of Central Asian oil are concentrated in the Republic of Kazakhstan[5].More than ten years China systematically expands the presence at oil and gasbranch of the country, redeeming assets from the western companies.

At the sametime actions of the People’s Republic of China got support of the authoritiesof the republic. In this plan the example of the American companyConocoPhillips which in 2013 decided to sell a share in the largest Kazakhstanproject Kashagan is indicative, however did not regard the People’s Republic ofChina as the buyer. The authorities of RK used the priority right for purchaseof a share, having received on it means from the Chinese side, and thentransferred a package of the Chinese CNPC[6].

Turkmenistan acts as thesupplier of gas on the Chinese market . Until the end of the first decade ofthe 21st century all volume of the Turkmen gas went to Russia. In 2009 Chinaallocated funds for arrangement of the group of gas Galkanysh fields, largestin the region, having become the only foreign company which got access todevelopment of the Turkmen fields on the land.

Today China built network of gaspipelines on delivery of the Turkmen gas to the territory and after refusal ofRussia of its purchase is the main sales market for Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan annually exports about30-35 billion cubic meters of gas per year to China via a pipeline built withBeijing funds, and hopes to double these volumes by 2020[7].   The second task facing the People’s Republicof China in realization of SREB is a development of the western regions of thecountry remote from the main industrial centers and maritime routes oftransportation.   According to the policy of development ofthe western regions[8] thedevelopment of the industry of the western regions assuming, in particular,search and expansion of sales markets of production of the Chinese producers iscarried out. In this regard the countries of Central Asia act as attractivesales market.     Proceeding from structure of export of Chinaover the countries of the region, the main sales markets in CA for the People’sRepublic of China are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.  For achievement of goals China uses a complexof various tools.

The first of them is investment. Here it is about purchase ofa share by the Chinese companies in the enterprises of the Central Asiancountries. China invests, mainly, in the extracting sector. So, the Chinesecompanies control more than a quarter of the Kazakhstan oil production now[9].  Despite high appeal of investments to thecountries of the region, the sphere of their application is limited. Much moreoften for financing of projects China allocates credit resources. In total bythe beginning of 2016 China provided in the form of loans to the countries ofCentral Asia about 30 billion dollars.

The highest credit activity of China isobserved in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, i.e. in the countries with largesupplies of mineral resources. In Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan the Chinese creditsare mainly utilized for reconstruction of power networks and roads. The Chinesecredits in Uzbekistan have other character.

Unlike other states of the regionTashkent persistently seeks to focus the Chinese capital on financing of thereal sector. Means are used for crediting of the Uzbek enterprises on conditionof purchase of the Chinese equipment by the last.   Active credit policy of China in CentralAsian region led to rapid growth of debt dependence of the countries of theregion on east neighbor. In 2015 the share of the People’s Republic of China ina capital export national debt of Tajikistan reached 43% (0,9 billion a dale)[10],Kyrgyzstan – 35% (1,2 billion), Kazakhstan – 8,5% (13,3 billion).The aforesaid data show the growing dependence of the countries ofCentral Asia on China. China actively applies policy of soft power under thepretext of an initiative of the “Silk Road Economic Belt”.Soft power in educationWithin the educationaldirection China develops worldwide network of institutes of Confucius which aresupervised by the department of Hanban[11]founded in 1987 – the state office on advance of Chinese abroad.

   According tothe Xinhua agency, for September, 2017 in the world there were 516 institutesand 1076 classes of Confucius operating in 142 countries and regions of theworld. And the total of their listeners reached 7 million people.   By 2020 thenumber of institutes of Confucius is planned to be finished till 1000. At thesame time China pays close attention to “neighboring countries”.

In51 countries located along “A belt and a way” 135 institutes and 129classes of Confucius are created[12].    In theterritory of Central Asia about one and a half tens institutes of Confuciuswhich continue to develop actively are created.   So, inDecember, 2014 Confucius’s institute in Samarkand opened. In August, 2015Confucius’s institute opened on the basis of Ore mining and smelting institutein the city of Chkalovsk of the Sughd region of Tajikistan[13].

In February, 2017 agreements on opening of three classes of Confucius on thebasis of educational institutions of the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan – the Oshtechnological university, the Osh humanitarian teacher training college andalso Bilim lyceum at the Osh state university were signed[14].Besides, in Bishkek since September 1, 2017 the first Kyrgyz-Chinese schoolconstructed at the expense of the People’s Republic of China calculated morethan on 1000 pupils opened. Cultural influence inCentral Asia Beijing expands also by training of students in the Chinese highereducation institutions.

The most active growth of number of the studyingstudents in higher educational institutions of the People’s Republic of China isshown by Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Kazakhstan which is activelydirecting the citizens for training abroad is in the lead on this indicator. Accordingto the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China for 2015, thenumber of the Kazakhstan students in China reached 13,2 thousand, havingincreased for the last 10 years by 3,5 times.  “There are 8600 students fromKazakhstan In China, only 200 of them are studying through the program called “Bolashak[15]”(Future). Some study for the own money, but a considerable part — as theChinese grants. For China this advance of the Chinese culture — one,familiarizing with the People’s Republic of China — two, at the very least it willbe the fifth column— three[16]”.   The number ofthe Tajik students in China makes several hundreds of people.

According to theMinistry of Education and Science of Tajikistan, in 2013/2014 academic year inthe Chinese higher education institutions on the quotas allocated to thePeople’s Republic of China 122 Tajik students studied, and the next year theirnumber doubled. In 2015/2016 China allocated for citizens of Tajikistan 64places for training at a language course, 105 places for training in theprogram of a bachelor degree and 20 – magistracies. In total the possibility oftraining in the People’s Republic of China at the expense of the budget as theTajik mass media report, last year was received 189, and this year – 298people.   Howeverreview of quality of education which the Chinese higher education institutions giveis not unambiguous. The Tajik students, for example, note difficulties withtraining at Chinese and also the negligent relation from the heads responsiblefor writing of scientific works. According to the Russian experts, China is notinterested in making of students of the real experts at all.

   Emphasis whentraining in the People’s Republic of China is placed on studying of Chinese andculture. Thereby Beijing trains professional translators to provide with themthe Chinese companies working in the region. Graduates of the Chinese highereducation institutions quite often face also a job search problem in thehomeland which can be limited to the same Chinese enterprises operating in theterritory of the region.  The presentstatus of China as the “world factory” making production formultinational corporations does not promote building of “soft power”.”China “imports” foreign knowledge, technologies and culturalproduction, and his own knowledge, technologies and cultural products not only”are hardly exported”, but even, perhaps, wither, having appearedunder control and influence of foreign soft power. Therefore the importantstrategic direction of development of soft power of China is streamlining ofthe economic structure based on foreign trade and the foreign capital, thestrengthened support of progress of sovereign economy and technologicalinnovations, development of the open system of knowledge having the Chinesespecifics”.Manifestations of fears of “soft power” inthe countries of Central Asia  Forstrengthening of the Chinese cultural and ideological influence in Central Asiathere is one obstacle which Beijing could not overcome yet. It is called”Yellow Peril[17]”.

The close neighbourhood with China and incomparability of its economic anddemographic potential with the countries of Central Asia, even combined,generates the alerted relation to cooperation with Beijing from the populationand local elite.In the region fears arerather strong that China which already became one of the largest and for anumber of the countries – and the main economic partner and the investor, overtime finally “will digest” them and will put in rigid financial andeconomic, and then and military-political dependence on China. And it will beextremely difficult to escape from “paws of a dragon” in this case.   Fears such in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistanhaving the general border with the People’s Republic of China are especiallystrong. Periodically the fear of “Chinese threat” breaks outside.

The”land” disorders in Kazakhstan, which became the mass protests sincethe notorious events of 2011 in Zhanaozen turned back death of 16 people[18].The changes announced by the authorities in the Land code allowing foreignersto lease lands not for 10 years as earlier, and for 25 years became a reasonfor the disorders which happened in May, 2016[19].It became in order that investors could pay back investments in the project.But as a result across Kazakhstan the wave of meetings which participantsopposed agricultural appointment sale of land to Chinese swept. As a resultentry into force of problem articles of the Land code had to be cancelled.

  In Tajikistan concerns are caused by the growingfinancial and economic dependence on the People’s Republic of China which moreand more finds “chronic” lines. By the end of 2016 the Chineseinvestments into the republic reached $1,016 billion whereas investments of allCIS countries – $950 million[20].    According toarrangements of two countries, direct investments of China to Tajikistan by2020 have to reach $3 billion. Suspicions to Beijing especially amplified afterDushanbe in January, 2011 transferred it 1,1 thousand of debatable groundon Pamir. Persistent rumors went to media that Dushanbe transferred these landsto Beijing on account of repayment of a debt, though officially everything wasissued as settlement of a territorial dispute. It is natural that such steps donot add trust to China at all.

   In Uzbekistanand Turkmenistan which have no the general border and territorial disputes withChina there are no such problems though the general alerted attitude towardshim remains. Not casually Chinese ambassadors in the countries of the region,speaking about the prospects of increasing cooperation, express overcomingstereotypes the need.     In order to avoid growth of atendency of “Chinese threat”, the Chinese authorities eventuallycarry out policy soft power by means of signing of contracts in economy sphere.

Last year within development of “Silk Road Economic Belt” Kyrgyzstanreached with the People’s Republic of China the agreement on transfer of excesscapacities to this republic. At the moment develop the plan for renewal of 44enterprises in Kyrgyzstan.   The similarprogram for transfer of production capacities for the total amount of 26billion is implemented with Kazakhstan. Besides, for the last few years RKsigned contracts for the sum of 48 billion dollars with China.   EvenUzbekistan which traditionally in foreign policy adhered to the principle ofequidistance from all “the centers of force” and remained long timein the smallest dependence on China, during the visit of the president ShavkatMirziyoev to Beijing signed more than hundred agreements for the sum of 20billion dollars.

    The People’sRepublic of China also remains to one of the main trade partners and investorsin Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, judging by an economic crisis in Russia, willremain to the long-term period.  Conclusion  Summing up ourresearch, we can see that the external aspect of using “Soft power” policy iscaused by several factors. First, in the modern world of deepening of economicglobalization and political multipolarization “soft power” gets moreand more significant place in the international relations and already becameequally important, even, perhaps, even more important, force in comparison with”firm force”. As one of world powers, China has to undertake indefense of peace around the world the international responsibility which thegreat power should bear.

And for this purpose China has to pay, along withincrease in “the firm force”, even more attention to strengthening of”soft power”.   Secondly, strengthening of construction of”soft power” of China represents an important point of increase inits international competitiveness. The interstate competition is thecompetition not only concerning resources, but also concerning wisdom at theiruse. The wisdom expressed during use of the “firm force” appears”soft power”.   Thirdly,today China became the main rival of the capitalist countries of the West. And”to avoid mistakes of the Soviet Union” along with increase in policyof “firm force”, it is necessary to increase as much as possible and”soft power”.     In spite of the fact that we clearly seemanifestations of soft power, in relation to Kazakhstan according to K.

Syroezhkin,the only thing that really can to stop advance of the People’s Republic ofChina to Central Asia, it is stirring up of integration processes in Eurasia.In this sense formation of the Customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan andBelarus, and in the long term and formation of the Eurasian Economic Unionbecame essential steps forward in restriction of appetites of China in theformer Soviet Union in general and in Central Asia in particular. The authorconsistently considers tactics of penetration of China into the region – fromgranting grants to students for training in the Chinese higher educationinstitutions (30 thousand grants annually) to readiness to finance creation oftransport infrastructure from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. K.

Syroezhkinconsiders that “the conflict of interests of China and Russia in CentralAsia will accrue, and is quite predictable that new political elite of thestates of the region will make a choice for China”. In this plan of thePeople’s Republic of China the competition between Russia and the USA on spaceof Central Asia quite arranges.   In generalthe efficiency of “soft power” policy is limited in Central Asiabecause of the negative stereotypes created both in Soviet and during thePost-Soviet period, the centralized character of the management of culturalpolicy, lack of universal cultural values and the certain flexibilitycharacteristic of the western NGO tools.   Advantages ofChina are the strong cultural and historical tradition having huge potential,the developed education system and the growing economic influence which a partof analysts also refer to tools of “soft power”. Strengthening ofeconomic presence of the People’s Republic of China in Central Asia assumesalso strengthening of humanitarian influence.

Whether the People’s Republic ofChina will manage to neutralize the existing contradictions by means of”soft power” is still big question.


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