Emerging Resources of China’s Soft Power: A Case Study of Cambodian Participants from Chinese Higher Education Programs (December 15, 2022)

The Consortium for Higher Education Research in Asia (CHERA(Chair: Professor Gerard A. Postiglione), the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERCand the Social Contexts and Policies of Education (SCAPEhost a series of forums for post-doc researchers and doctoral students in Asia who are studying in the field of higher education. The forums aim to identify common challenges in Asian higher education, build a vibrant and sustainable network, and strengthen the research collaboration among emerging scholars in higher education. The forums cover a broad range of issues in Asian higher education including higher education and science policy, teaching and learning, student experience, equity/access, quality assurance, internationalization, and privatization and finance. On-going researches (project or dissertations) and recently published works are all welcome to be presented and discussed. Both individual/co-presentations and panel discussion formats are welcome. The forums are conducted in English via an online platform.

Anyone who is interested in presenting their research, please contact the coordinators: Dr Jisun Jung (jisun@hku.hkand Dr Alice Te (aliceteyc@yahoo.com.hk). Please send the (tentative) title, abstract (150 words), and a bio (50 words).

If you have any inquiries about the seminar/consortium, please contact us cherhku@hku.hk.

Co-organizers: SCAPE, CHERA, CERC


Date: December 15, 2022 (Thursday) (Hong Kong Time)

Time: 16:00-17:00

Format: Zoom

Chair: Dr Yang Lili, the University of Hong Kong

Speaker: Dr Zhu Kejin, the University of Hong Kong


Along with its unprecedented economic rise over the past several decades, debates about China’s soft power push have become heated. Yet, consensus on what exactly constitutes China’s soft power has not been reached. In a much-altered context of China’s recent grand initiatives, the prism of higher education and the region of Southeast Asia both are uniquely significant for interpreting its soft power agenda. This article aims to capture the recent dynamics through the experiences of Cambodian participants from China’s higher education programs. The evidence identifies four emerging resources of Chinese soft power: contemporary life appeal, advancement in science and technology, STEM education reputation, and economic development model. It further highlights the Belt and Road Initiative as a stimulus for amplifying the influence of the Chinese development model in Southeast Asia, whereas China’s domestic coordination of different players and an ideal mix of soft power resources still have not been formulated.

Citation: Zhu, K.* & Yang, R. (2022). China’s emerging soft power resources in Southeast Asia: A Case Study of Cambodian Participants from Chinese Higher Education Programs. Higher Education Policy. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-022-00278-w


Dr ZHU Kejin is a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. Her dissertation combines soft power and neo-tributary lens to decipher China’s strategies for global rise. Her previous research examines university-industry interactions in the Greater Bay Area and organizational innovations of Chinese neo-type research universities.