chinese language

John Layton - The Globalization of Chinese Soft Power

The Confucius Institute and Confucius Classrooms as seen in Lafayette, Indiana.

Since their launch in 2004, the Beijing-backed Confucius Institutes have been no strangers to controversy. While their defenders liken them to the Chinese equivalents of the Goethe Institute, the Alliance Francaise and the British Council, their critics have christened them fonts of espionage and propaganda – charges which, though salacious, are still unsubstantiated

Chinese culture enjoys increasing influence in the world. What makes it so attractive? What are the challenges facing it? Over the past eight years, the Confucius Institute has made remarkable achievements in promoting the Chinese culture and language worldwide.

The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (OCAO) will cooperate with foreign education authorities to position Chinese-language education as a mainstream education choice abroad, said Li Haifeng, the OCAO director, at a meeting attended by overseas Chinese social organizations from across the world.

...with a few high-profile exceptions, its films have not made an impact on the world stage and are struggling to take on the challenges of Hollywood productions at home....It is a matter of concern for China, which is becoming more assertive in its attempts to export its own view of the world, having seen the "soft power" prowess of US films and television shows.

China is taking note. It has begun flying Indonesia's Islamic scholars to China on study tours in order to show how Muslim minorities thrive in China, despite its official atheism. It's the kind of public diplomacy that the US has used for decades to burnish its image, so it's hardly surprising that China is doing the same.

The first Taiwan Education Center in India was inaugurated on Monday to promote learning the Chinese language, the latest step in the government’s campaign to project Taiwan’s soft power overseas.