Early Career Researchers Network in Higher Education Studies

Emerging Resources of China’s Soft Power: A Case Study of Cambodian Participants from Chinese Higher Education Programs

Chair: Dr Yang Lilithe University of Hong Kong

Speaker: Dr Zhu Kejin, the University of Hong Kong

Date: December 15, 2022 (Thursday)

Time: 16:00-17:00 (HK Time) by zoom

Registration: Click here


Along with its unprecedented economic rise over the past several decades, debates about China’s soft power push have become heated. Yet, consensus on what exactly constitutes China’s soft power has not been reached. In a much-altered context of China’s recent grand initiatives, the prism of higher education and the region of Southeast Asia both are uniquely significant for interpreting its soft power agenda. This article aims to capture the recent dynamics through the experiences of Cambodian participants from China’s higher education programs. The evidence identifies four emerging resources of Chinese soft power: contemporary life appeal, advancement in science and technology, STEM education reputation, and economic development model. It further highlights the Belt and Road Initiative as a stimulus for amplifying the influence of the Chinese development model in Southeast Asia, whereas China’s domestic coordination of different players and an ideal mix of soft power resources still have not been formulated.

Citation: Zhu, K.* & Yang, R. (2022). China’s emerging soft power resources in Southeast Asia: A Case Study of Cambodian Participants from Chinese Higher Education Programs. Higher Education Policyhttps://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-022-00278-w


Dr ZHU Kejin is a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. Her dissertation combines soft power and neo-tributary lens to decipher China’s strategies for global rise. Her previous research examines university-industry interactions in the Greater Bay Area and organizational innovations of Chinese neo-type research universities.