A Look at Chinese Soft Power: On the IRSEM Report on Chinese Influence Operations


This article is published in Futuribles journal no.446, jan.-fev. 2022

While the Covid crisis has exposed the extensive dependence of Western — and, in particular, European — states on strategic materials and goods mass-produced in China, and while Chinese-American rivalry regularly makes headlines, a report published this autumn by IRSEM (the French Defence Ministry’s Institute for Strategic Research) has caused a good deal of commotion in France. It relates to “Chinese influence operations” or, in other words, to the way Beijing intervenes with foreign companies, organizations and institutions to consolidate its image and defend its interests. In particular, it stresses the shift currently underway between a period (currently coming to a close) when China used its soft power to exert influence on the international stage by giving a very positive image of itself, and a new period, characterized by a more offensive attitude, in which engendering fear is seen as a more effective way of serving Chinese interests. Inès Cavalli presents the major features of this very dense report here (more than 600 pages) and explains what it reveals about Beijing’s ambitions and the resources (including technological resources) deployed to serve them.
#Chine #Coopération internationale. Relations internationales #Économie internationale #Pouvoir politique