China wastes an estimated $10B a year for its global propaganda machine designed to exert "soft power," according to the July/August Foreign Affairs.

chinaThe State Council Information Office, situated in a Soviet-era building in Beijing, is the nerve center of the effort.

China's version of Orwell's Ministry of Truth is the country's key censor and media watchdog, coordinating festivals, exhibits, controling Internet content, managing publications and media abroad, including China Daily, Global Times, China Central TV and Xinhau News Agency, which has 3,000 "journalists" of which 400 are posted in global bureaus.

The Xinhua News Agency has bigger plans than to compete with wire services such as AP, Reuters, Agence France Presse and Bloomberg.

According to Foreign Affairs, Xinhau "harbors ambitions of becoming a modern multimedia conglomerate, competing with the likes of News Corp., Viacom and Time Warner. And once its online video presence expands, it will try to steal market share from 24-hour news channels such as CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera."

China's military has its own propaganda effort. The country's also seeks international propaganda reach via its Confucius Institutes, 475 language/culture centers in 120 countries.

Despite the billions spent for propaganda, there has been little improvement in China's global image. BBC and Pew Research polls report deterioration in China's image.

Foreign Affairs concludes:

"The Chinese government approaches public diplomacy the same way it constructs high-speed rail or builds infrastructure—by investment money and expecting to see development.

"What China fails to understand is that despite its world-class culture, cuisine and human capital, and despite its extraordinary economic rise over the last several decades, as long as its political system denies, rather than enables, free human development, its propaganda efforts will face an uphill battle."

A postscript to the Foreign Affairs piece: China's massive hacking of US government personnel files does little to improve its global image. The theft is par for China's course.