Analysis of assertive ideological sources of China’s soft power: How the China Model is presented to challenge Western values

Cheuk Ho Gabriel LI

Research output: ThesisMaster's Theses


With regard to the development of China’s soft power, the existing literature primarily discusses how the Chinese state has formulated cultural and foreign policies to manage Chinese national image as a peaceful, constructive and non-threatening nation in an effort to ameliorate the threat perception from others. This study attempts to discuss how the development of China’s soft power has shifted from a defensive position that conformed to the existing international system to an assertion position that challenges Western values. To achieve a deeper understanding on the assertive nature of China’s soft power, this study takes a constructionist theoretical approach to examine the China Model proposed by Chinese intellectuals and pays attention to how Chinese intellectuals as the Model’s proponents consider the Model as a vessel in which they can accomplish specific meaning to develop assertive China’s soft power. This study found that the Model’s proponents adopt a three-step discourse strategy to denounce the legitimacy of Western democracy by highlighting the limitations of American and global democratic development and the incompatibility of Western democracy and Chinese socio-political traditions. The Model’s proponents also resort to Chinese socio-political traditions to promulgate the assertion of Chinese Confucian values, such as min ben ideology and meritocracy, in order to present a Chinese perspective on the Model’s success and to challenge Western normative convictions of national development. That soft power is congruent with the Party’s more recent, assertive efforts to fend off unfavorable Western ideological inroads into China and to promote China’s political distinctiveness. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • CHEUNG, Chi Kin, Supervisor
  • LEE, Siu Yau, Supervisor
  • CHOU, Kee Lee 周基利, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • China’s soft power
  • The China Model
  • Assertiveness
  • Western democracy
  • Chinese Confucian values
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Mphil)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.


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