Unveiling Communist China's Global Soft Power Outposts

National Association of Scholars

Rachelle Peterson’s article was originally published in The Federalist​. We post an excerpt below; please read the entire article here.

Liu’s film offers glimpses into China’s goals for its Confucius Institutes, which an agency of the Chinese government, the Hanban, operates and funds. She splices together TV shots of Hanban executive director Xu Lin (a member of the Chinese government’s highest committee, the 35-member State Council) expressing her delight that top universities in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere “work for us” by hosting Confucius Institutes.

Later, we see Xu accept the “Influencing the World Award” at a gala. In her acceptance speech, Xu raves that “Confucius Institutes are an important part of our soft power. We want to expand China’s influence.”

Under Xu’s leadership, the Hanban sends upwards of $100,000, free Chinese teachers, and thousands of government-printed textbooks to every Confucius Institute and Confucius Classroom, every year. In exchange, China gets to set hiring policies, buy universities’ goodwill, and screen out undesired topics, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, or the Dalai Lama’s support for Tibetan independence.

Image: Wuxi, Jiangsu, China by Thomas Depenbusch // CC BY 2.0

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