China town San Fransisco Loic Lagarde/Flickr

Los límites del poder blando de China

CAMBRIDGE – China viene haciendo esfuerzos importantes para aumentar su capacidad de influir en otros países sin recurrir a la fuerza o la coerción. En 2007, el entonces presidente Hu Jintao le dijo al Partido Comunista que el país necesitaba aumentar su poder blando; el presidente Xi Jinping repitió el mismo mensaje el año pasado. Ellos saben que, para un país como China, cuyo poder económico y militar creciente corre el riesgo de asustar a sus vecinos y llevarlos a formar coaliciones de contrapeso, una estrategia inteligente debe incluir esfuerzos para infundir menos temor. Pero sus ambiciones de poder blando todavía enfrentan obstáculos importantes.

Sin duda, los esfuerzos chinos han tenido cierto impacto. En tanto China recluta países para integrar su Banco Asiático de Inversiones en Infraestructura y reparte miles de millones de dólares de ayuda durante las visitas estatales al exterior, algunos observadores temen que, cuando se habla de poder blando, China en realidad podría sacarles ventaja a países como Estados Unidos. El sinólogo norteamericano David Shambaugh, por ejemplo, estima que el país invierte aproximadamente 10.000 millones de dólares al año en "propaganda externa". En comparación, Estados Unidos gastó apenas 666 millones de dólares en diplomacia pública el año pasado.

Sin embargo, los miles de millones de dólares que China está gastando en su ofensiva de encantamiento sólo han tenido un retorno limitado. Encuestas en Norteamérica, Europa, India y Japón demuestran que las opiniones sobre la influencia de China son predominantemente negativas. El país es visto con una mirada más positiva en América Latina y África, donde no tiene ninguna disputa territorial y donde las preocupaciones por los derechos humanos no siempre están en el tope de la agenda pública. Pero inclusive en muchos países en esas regiones, las prácticas chinas como importar mano de obra para proyectos de infraestructura no son populares.

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