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Lau China Institute Seminar: Chinese film goes global

Strand Building, Strand Campus, London

27 Nov
Lau China seminar, Chinese street

Speaker:  Dr Yanling Yang (Loughborough University London)

Chinese film goes global

This research explores the role of film in China’s drive to enhance its soft power. Based on the context of the “Going-out Policy” that aims to promote Chinese film overseas, this study examines Chinese films’ global performance over the period from 2003 to 2017 in the three areas of film exportation, exhibitions, and festivals.

Drawing on interviews and originally compiled data, this research finds that Chinese films’ overseas performance have not improved as the official report has claimed. Therefore, Chinese films has yet to make significant contributions to soft power despite the government’s efforts. This research contributes to debate and analysis around soft power in two main ways. Firstly, by focusing on film, it addresses an underdeveloped area in the existing research on soft power and culture policy employed by the world’s leading authoritarian regime. Secondly, it addresses the practical issues raised by the feasibility of measuring soft power, issues that currently remain unresolved in both academic research and policy-making.


Dr Yanling Yang is a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the Institute for Media and Creative Industries, Loughborough University London. Her main research interests include film industries, cultural policy, digital media, soft power and international communication. 

Dr Yang obtained her PhD in 2017 from the School of Media and Communication University of Leeds. Her thesis “Film as an instrument of China’s soft power: practice, outcomes and dilemmas” analysed the role of film as an instrument of nation’s soft power with a focus on China. The study combines a document analysis of China’s cultural policy since 1949, semi-structured interviews with key players in China’s film industry and a secondary data analysis to evaluate the potential of film as an instrument of China’s soft power.

This research brings together her main research interests: film industry, cultural policy, digital media, soft power and international communication.

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