1st Edition

China’s Soft Power and Higher Education in South Asia
Rationale, Strategies, and Implications

ISBN 9780367340827
Published May 18, 2021 by Routledge
176 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This empirical work illuminates how China uses the higher education mechanism in South Asia to advance its national interests and investigates the outcomes for China, including both challenges and opportunities.

Using a soft power theoretical framework, this book employs the case study of Nepal, a South Asian country of profound geostrategic value for the two competing powers of China and India. Illustrating how higher education is the mechanism for achieving soft power goals, it draws on data analysis based on archival sources and interviews with China and South Asia experts, including academics and politico-bureaucratic elites, as well as interviews with Nepalese students and alumni. Importantly though, this book advances an innovative conceptual model of geointellect to trace the evolving dimensions of China’s global dominance in higher education, research, and innovation paradigm, especially in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative and ultimately reveals how foreign policy and higher education policy reinforce each other in the context of China.

China’s Soft Power and Higher Education in South Asia provides an empirically rich resource for students and scholars of education, international relations, Asian studies, and China’s soft power.

Table of Contents

Part 1: 1. Introduction: Soft Power and Internationalization of Higher Education  2. Higher Education as a Terrain of Soft Power: China’s Goals and Motivations in Nepal  3. China’s Academic Charm for Nepalese Students?  4. Higher Education as a Conduit of China’s Values and Culture  5. Nepalese Students and China’s Foreign Policy: Perceptions and Engagement  Part 2: 6. China’s Rising Geointellect?  7. China’s Geointellect in South Asia: The Road Ahead?  Part 3: 8. Conclusions

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Romi Jain is Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Management, University of British Columbia, and Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Asian Affairs. A China expert, she won the competitive federal grant from SSHRC, Canada, and has published in many peer-reviewed journals, including Asian Survey, Diplomacy & Statecraft, and Asian Affairs: An American Review.


"From Dr. Romi Jain’s meticulously researched and nicely written work emerges a compelling account of China’s latest efforts to engage neighboring South Asian nations in the sphere of higher education and academic research. This timely and insightful book should appeal to anyone interested in the evolving patterns of transnational higher education in the Global South."

    - Joseph T. H. Lee, Director, Global Asia Institute, Pace University, New York, USA

"Interesting and insightful, Jain's book is a pioneering study on how China has promoted soft power in South Asia through higher education. Must-read for students and academics who wish to have a deep understanding of why and how China has enhanced its global clout in the 21st century."    

    - Zhiqun Zhu, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Bucknell University, USA

"This meticulously researched study evaluates China’s use of educational soft power in Nepal, and its 'geointellect' initiatives in the case of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in its leadership’s bid to establish China as a knowledge superpower. Dr. Jain finds that, although the PRC has surpassed the West in certain metrics, it still trails behind in others, suggesting that the true test lies in whether China’s educational soft power can succeed in human cultivation and talent cultivation in these countries."

    - June Teufel Dreyer, Professor of Political Science, University of Miami, USA