The existing literature on China’s soft power is mainly concerned with its success or failure, ignoring the ideological tensions between the Chinese state’s international pursuit of soft power and its efforts at reviving the popularity of socialist ideology at home in a country profoundly transformed by modernisation and globalisation processes. This article argues that such ideological tensions should be contextualised and critically analysed by employing an approach informed by critical globalisation studies, particularly by the power-to-whom critique. It offers a critical analysis of the CPC is With You Along the Way film, a notable recent example of the CPC’s publicity videos in the context of its pursuit of soft power. Borrowing Reisigl and Wodak’s discourse-historical approach (DHA) in addition to the analytical devices for the study of ideology from Eagleton and van Dijk, the article argues that CPC is With You Along the Way illustrates a shift in the party’s ideological approach to the question ‘(soft) power to whom?’.
Keywords: ideology, China, soft power, globalisation, Chinese dream, discourse-historical approach