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December 7, 2010: Ms. Maria Siow and Dr. David Shambaugh

(Click to enlarge) From left to right, Ms. Maria Wey-Shen Siow and Dr. David Schambaugh discuss Chinese soft power and public diplomacy.

China's Confucius Institutes: Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones


Related Publications:


Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 86 , by Maria Wey-Shen Siow
Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 78 , by Maria Wey-Shen Siow

(Washington, DC) Western debates and discussions surrounding China’s soft power efforts in the Asian region are more widely known than the related discourse within China itself. Ms. Maria Wey-Shen Siow presented her research into the debates on soft power among Chinese analysts, academics and commentators. She also gave an update on the progress and development of China’s Confucius Institutes worldwide, outlining their hits and misses. Dr. David Shambaugh then offered his insights into this recently established Chinese public diplomacy initiative. Both speakers agreed that while the Confucius Institutes could be susceptible to political pressure from the Chinese government, they have been benign in nature since their establishment  in 2004.


Maria Wey-Shen Siow is a visiting fellow with the East-West Center in Washington and has been the East Asia bureau chief with Channel NewsAsia since 2008. She began her journalism career with The Straits Times political desk, before becoming a political broadcast journalist with the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, later known as MediaCorp, Singapore’s leading media company. Ms. Siow served as Hong Kong correspondent in 1998 and then was appointed as China bureau chief shortly after Channel NewsAsia was launched. Based in Beijing but travelling extensively throughout China, Ms. Siow has covered a wide range of developments in China for over a decade. She received a BA from the National University of Singapore and a Masters degree in International Public Policy and Practice from George Washington University.

David Shambaugh is a professor of political science and international affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs of The George Washington University (1996- present). Dr. Shambaugh directed the Elliott School’s Sigur Center for Asian Studies from 1996 - 1998 and, since that time, has been the founding director of the China Policy Program. He has also been a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution since 1998. In 2008 Dr. Shambaugh was also appointed Honorary Research Professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and during 2009-2010 was a senior Fulbright research scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Economics & Politics in Beijing.