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Chapter 1: Introduction
China, beyond doubt, is an emerging great power, although it is still, in many respects, a developing country. The task continued economic and political modernization of the world’s most populous country is not small and requires continued innovations and transformations at conceptual as well as operational levels. Having become an economic power to reckon with, one of the challenges faced by China in the present global setting is to create a niche for itself in way that it neither creates and threatening feeling for its competitors, nor overwhelms its friends. China, like any major global power, is also faced with the challenge of ‘image’. To face this challenge, public diplomacy is one of the new tools used by China like many other major global players to engage foreign publics, to create a favorable image at international level and to create a positive international environment. The overall transformation of China’s global image and influence owes to a range of factors but growth in China’s soft power has played an important part. China has developed an ability to influence by persuasion rather than by coercion. China is spreading this soft power or image through various means, including cultural and public diplomacy, enhanced participation and role in multinational organizations, ever increasing businesses’ ventures abroad, and the gravitational pull of a nation’s economic strength.