On Thursday, July 1, China announced the launch of CNC World, a new global English-language TV network, to be available through satellite and on the Internet. Part of China’s official news agency, it is intended to project a China-friendly perspective on issues to the world – ostensibly to help outsiders understand China better.

To most analysts in the West, however, the launch of this network represents another sign of China’s growing prominence and confidence on the world stage – further evidence of its emerging status as the world’s next “superpower.” But is it really? A superpower is generally understood to be a nation, empire, or civilization that can project power globally; that is, a nation that possesses economic, political and cultural or “soft” power along with overwhelming military or “hard” power.

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