Though some scholars, like Yan Xuetong and Zhu Feng, challenge Nye’s conception of soft power and how that is applied to the Chinese case, the CCP seems to be fully behind the idea. Whether, as Li points out, soft power is a means to a variety of ends, like world status or self-defense, or to a specific policy goal, the PRC has embraced soft power and a variety of public diplomacy programs, like international broadcasting.
A main aspect of public diplomacy, or nation branding, depends on the message the government sends out not clashing horrendously with the actual situation in the country, or the actions they take. This doesn’t work out when human rights abuses and foreign misperceptions clash directly with their own view of themselves. China’s public diplomacy seems just as much about convincing their own population of their soft power and their cultural strengths as other countries. Wang explains this through a particular conception of public diplomacy, in that a meaning of propaganda has both internal and external aspects, a direct opposite from the Smith-Mundt Act in the US.
Nonetheless, Nye, of course, still recommends soft power as a goal and a method for China as it gains power in the world system:
Have I mentioned how much I love TED talks?