Understanding the Tools, Messages and Impact of China's “SOFT POWER” in North Macedonia

This research project aims to provide empirical evidence on China’s soft power, the tools and tactics it uses to shape perceptions, the key messages it promotes and the degree of success it has achieved thus far in North Macedonia.

The research will be structured in two parts:

            1. Identifying the soft power tools and tactics that China has been using in North Macedonia, using Mark Leonard’s dimensions of public policy. The tools and tactics identified will be divided in three categories – news management, strategic messaging and relationship building, ranging from the short to long term outlook which they provide in shaping perceptions.

            2. Identifying the key messages and impact, categorized in 7 areas adapted from the Global Soft Power Index - Business and trade, Governance, International relations, Culture and heritage, Media and communications, Education and science, People and values. The areas will also serve as basis to measure the impact of China’s soft power and to determine to which extent the tools and tactics have been successful to anchor the key messages. To that effect, the impact will be classified into three broad categories: familiarity, reputation and influence, ranging from the lowest to the highest level of impact.

The research will be conducted through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods: desk research, semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, a survey targeting the general public in order to measure the impact of China’s soft power strategies on the public perceptions, 2 focus groups with representatives of key stakeholders and analysis of the collected data, leading to a research report with policy recommendations.

The final study is available at the following links in English and Macedonian.

The project will be implemented between May and September 2022. For more information, please contact us.