This article examines the actual short-term effectiveness of China’s public diplomacy towards the United States, Germany, the UK, France, Russia, and Japan from 2005 to 2012. The author finds that while China’s public diplomacy towards Russia has been effective over the short term, that towards the other five countries is not significant, and in the case of Germany a negative effect is observed. Compared with China’s public diplomacy, the growth of China’s military power has the greater influence on public opinion towards China. To varying degrees across countries, the rise of China’s military might, its increasing international influence, as well as concerns related to a potential military threat from China all exert negative impact on public favourability towards China. At the same time, economic factors are not found to influence public favourability to the extent that might commonly be expected.