East Asia Watch: China's tough talk threatens to thwart soft power drive

Push to win friends, influence other nations not yielding results, given efforts put in

BEIJING • On Nov 14, just hours before a talk featuring youth activists was to take place on Columbia University's campus in New York City, university administrators abruptly pulled it, citing security concerns after a Chinese student group threatened to stage a protest at the venue.

The discussion was to have been on China's human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong - all touchy topics that the Chinese authorities already control the narrative of domestically and have increasingly little tolerance for outside its borders.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2019, with the headline 'China's tough talk threatens to thwart soft power drive'. Print Edition | Subscribe