The image of a nation is crucial in the conduct of international relations. As a rising power, China is increasingly concerned about its image, due to which it is increasingly investing into its public diplomacy. Public diplomacy, broadly understood as a country’s engagement and communication with foreign publics, has become one important part of China’s overall diplomacy in recent years. Rising to play a more substantial role in world politics and economics, and often feeling misjudged by the international community, the Chinese leadership is increasingly making effective use of public diplomacy tools to project an image of China that in its view does more justice to reality: China as a trustworthy, cooperative, peace-loving, developing country that takes good care of its enormous population; a China that is building a ‘harmonious society’ at home and contributing to a peaceful and ‘harmonious world’ as a responsible player in international affairs. This compilation introduces the Chinese deliberate on public diplomacy. Communication becomes a vital means of generating influence and an ever-more powerful aspect in the conduct of foreign affairs. This makes public diplomacy one of the most salient political communication issues in the 21st century and the most debated topic in the field of international communications.

Chinese Public Diplomacy discusses developments in China’s soft power and public diplomacy. China’s government, as well as an increasing number of Chinese individuals and civil society groups, is starting to participate in global networks with public and private actors, bringing new dynamics to China’s public diplomacy. The text looks at China’s image in different parts of the world and describes show state and non-state actors try to address or pre-empt image problems with various public diplomacy tools. Comprehending the Chinese conceptualization of public diplomacy is furthermore important because it helps to better understand how China applies noncoercive strategies to shape the international environment along its long-term interests.