In addition to hard power, China works to expand its influence over the rest of the world through the use of soft power strategies. Soft power refers to the use of non-violent methods to achieve one's goals ("soft power"). The establishment of Confucius institutes is just one example of China's use of soft power.
Confucius Institutes are educational programs designed and created by China. The institutes are located in countries all over the world. In total, enrollment is around 260, 000. Confucius Institutes focus on exposing non-Chinese to China's language and culture. China believes a Confucius Institute education will prepare students for living in a world in which China's influence is felt in the workforce, economy and society. The first Confucius Institutes, established in 2004, primarily focused on teaching the Chinese language. Today, the scope of the institutes is much wider. In fact, students may choose from 9,000 courses depending on where they live. Each Confucius Institute is slightly unique, however all institutes originated as non-profit, public programs. The Confucius Institute headquarters are called Hanban and are located in Beijing, China ("About Confucius Institutes").
Xin Lin, the director of Hanban, a Chinese government agency, since 2004, has led the charge in promoting China in other countries. She hopes to grow China into a cultural superpower. In order to ensure the implementation of Confucius Institutes, China pays for foreign universities to establish Confucius Institutes in their schools. Aside from monetary support, China also provides the universities with Chinese teachers from Beijing. So far, Confucius institutes have been established in about 465 universities in 123 countries worldwide (Sudworth).
Foreign Concerns Edit
Foreign countries have expressed concerns with the establishment of Confucius Institutes. Some countries fear the institutes pose a threat to their peoples' freedom of thought and speech in education. For example, the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the American Association of University Professors asked that all universities end their Confucius Institute programs (Sudworth).
Works Cited Edit
"About Confucius Institutes". Confucius Institute Headquarters Hanban. 2014. Web. 12 March 2017.
"soft power". Dictionary.com. n.d. Web. 12 March 2017.
Sudworth, John. "Confucius Institute: The hard side of China's soft power". BBC News, Shanghai. 22 December 2014. Web. 12 March 2017.