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Abstract

This article starts by introducing sources that offer general overview on Confucius Institutes. It is then divided into several thematic sections that focus on the most discussed aspects of Confucius Institutes, including their operation and development, their involvement in shaping China’s soft power, perceptions of Confucius Institutes in academia and media, and the impact that Confucius Institutes have on various aspects of China’s relation with the rest of the world.
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Confucius Institutes
Yu Tao, Jiayi Wang
LAST MODIFIED: 27 JUNE 2018
DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199920082-0149
Introduction
Confucius Institutes are a cluster of non-profit educational organizations that promote the Chinese language and culture outside China.
At the center of this cluster is the Confucius Institute Headquarters, a public-sector institution affiliated with the Ministry of Education of
the People’s Republic of China that also operates under the name of Hanban. Hanban (汉办), in Chinese, is a colloquial abbreviation of
the Guojia hanyu guoji tuiguan lingdao xiaozu bangongshi (国家汉语国际推广领导小组办公室), the official English title of which is the
Office of Chinese Language Council International. Overseen by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, the first Confucius
Institute opened its door in Seoul in November 2004. As of December 2017, there were 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Confucius
Classrooms in 146 countries and territories around the world. Although the Confucius Institutes are sometimes viewed in parallel to
other state-sponsored cultural institutions such as the British Council, Alliance Française, and Goethe-Institut, their structure and
development strategies are significantly different from the foreign counterparts, which often operate as stand-alone corporations.
Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, however, are normally affiliated to universities, schools, cultural organizations, and community
centers outside China, and they are almost always jointly established and managed between the host institutions and their Chinese
partner institutions, which are generally, though not without exception, universities in China. The Confucius Institute
Headquarters/Hanban provides financial support and teaching resources to Confucius Institutes and Classrooms around the world. It
also selects the Chinese director for and sends teaching staff and volunteers from China to Confucius Institutes and Classrooms.
These directors, teaching staff, and volunteers are often selected from the Chinese partner institutions. For each Confucius Institute,
the host institution appoints one of its staff members as the foreign director, who manages the Institute together with the Chinese
director. On some occasions, the foreign director acts as the chief operation officer of their Confucius Institute and the Chinese director
plays an assisting role. Due to these complicated arrangements, the actual levels of autonomy, styles of operation, and ranges of
activities can be considerably diverse among different Confucius Institutes and Classrooms despite the standardized Constitution and
By-Laws set up by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban. Although the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban restricts its
objectives to teach the Chinese language, promote the Chinese culture, and enhance the development of multiculturalism, Confucius
Institutes and Classrooms are widely regarded by observers both within and outside China as important players in the making and
shaping of China’s soft power. Confucius Institutes have received both criticisms and admiration for their activities as well as their rapid
development and expansion. Assessments have also been made on the impact that Confucius Institutes have on international
economic and people flows, as well as on China’s image and influence. The rest of this article starts by introducing sources that offer
general overview on Confucius Institutes. It is then divided into several thematic sections that focus on the most discussed aspects of
Confucius Institutes, including their operation and development, their involvement in shaping China’s soft power, perceptions of
Confucius Institutes in academia and media, and the impact that Confucius Institutes have on various aspects of China’s relation with
the rest of the world.
General Overview
Although a significant number of scholarly enquiries have been made into various social and political aspects of Confucius Institutes,
much fewer academic publications can provide a one-stop comprehensive overview on the nature, history, and organizational structure
of this rapidly growing network of institutes. This probably is due to a series of factors. Firstly, the Confucius Institute project is still
relatively new, and it has constantly been in rapid development. Thus, any attempt to capture the latest status of Confucius Institutes is
easily outdated by what has happened more recently. Moreover, although noticeable concerns have been made on the considerable
influence that the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban in Beijing has on an individual Confucius Institute or Classroom outside
China (see Doubts and Criticisms), considerable diversities exist among different Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in terms of their
specific activities and their actual working relations with various departments and individuals in host institutions. Furthermore, although
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Confucius Institutes are often used as one of the several cases or examples to illustrate some broader arguments, such as the rise of
China’s cultural diplomacy, they are much less frequently to be chosen as the actual subject of academic discussions. That said, it is
still possible to obtain some general overview on the essential information regarding Confucius Institutes through at least three bodies
of materials, which are, namely, monographs and Internet portals specifically devoted to the study of Confucius Institutes, periodicals
published by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban and academic institutes, and the diaries and memoirs written by former
directors of Confucius Institutes. In addition, many academic works that focus on certain aspects of Confucius Institutes also include an
overview on the history, activities, and organizational structure of the system (see, for example, Paradise 2009, cited under Roles and
Mechanisms).
Monographs and Internet Portals
With new institutes and classrooms opened almost every month (and existing ones closed at times), the development of Confucius
Institutes is highly dynamic. Therefore, the best way to be kept updated with the latest accurate information is to directly follow the
bilingual (in both Chinese and English) Confucius Institute Annual Development Reports, which is available on the official website of
the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban). In addition, an increasing number of monographs published in Chinese and in English
—albeit still in relatively small numbers—are devoted to study Confucius Institutes and their operation in various countries. The book-
length studies in English include Stambach 2014, Hartig 2016, and Gil 2017, and the book-length studies in Chinese include Huang
2016, Ning 2016, and Liu 2017. Although to this day there has not been any aggregated source to provide an exhaustive coverage on
the activities launched by Confucius Institutes and Classrooms all over the world, some institutes, such as the Sheffield Confucius
Institute in the United Kingdom and the ELTE Modell Konfuciusz Intézet in Hungary, have made some of their regular newsletters
available through their websites. These newsletters are useful primary sources reflecting not only the activities carried out by Confucius
Institutes but also how these activities were viewed and framed by these institutes. In addition, some Confucius Institutes have also
made their annual reports available online. For example, the Confucius Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney,
Australia, offers access to each of its annual reports since 2014.
Confucius Institute Annual Development Reports.
Chinese title: Kongzi xueyuan niandu fazhan baogao (孔子学院年度发展报告). This series of annual reports are published bilingually,
with identical Chinese and English information in the same volumes. Produced by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, they are the
official source for information regarding the latest development of Confucius Institutes, especially the precise information on, for
example, the total number of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms. Only reports between 2011 and 2016 have been made publicly
available.
Confucius Institute at the University of New South Wales.
This webpage offers access to the annual reports of the Confucius Institute at the University of New South Wales since 2014. Each
annual report includes reports on the major events and activities launched by the institute, as well as the information on the
organizational structure and staff of the institute.
Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban.
Chinese title: Kongzi xueyuan zongbu/Guojia hanban (孔子学院总部/国家汉办). Available in Chinese, English, French, Spanish and
Arabic, this official website of the Confucius Institute Headquarters offers a wide range of up-to-date data and materials. It also includes
a news aggregation section that presents selected media coverages (mostly positive) on Confucius Institutes around the world.
ELTE Modell Konfuciusz Intézet.
This webpage offers access to an online archive of eleven volumes of Konfuciusz Krónika released by the ELTE Modell Konfuciusz
Intézet between 2007 and 2013. The contents are mostly in Hungarian, complimented by some Chinese notes. In addition to coverage
on the major activities held by the institute, each volume of Konfuciusz Krónika also includes essays introducing the Chinese language
and culture.
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Gil, Jeffrey. Soft Power and the Worldwide Promotion of Chinese Language Learning Beliefs and Practices: The Confucius
Institute Project. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2017.
This book, through an analysis of official documents, interviews, survey data and relevant academic and media sources, presents an
informative overview of the Confucius Institute project, with a focus on evaluating the aims of this project and the extent to which these
aims are being met. This book is highly readable and provides comprehensive information on various important aspects of Confucius
Institutes, including their background, status of development, impacts and implications.
Hartig, Falk. Chinese Public Diplomacy: The Rise of the Confucius Institute. London: Routledge, 2016.
This book offers very comprehensive discussions on how Confucius Institutes, although primarily defined as a promoter of Chinese
language and culture, also work for the foreign policy goals of the Chinese government. In particular, this book provides empirical
evidence and in-depth analysis on how Confucius Institutes serve as an instrument for the Chinese government to promote the
country’s soft power in Australia and Germany.
Huang Mei . Dajigou guan yu Zhongguo daolu: Kongzi xueyuan fazhan bijiao yanjiu (
). Beijing: Waiyu jiaoxue yu yanjiu chubanshe, 2016.
The author worked at the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban when this book was written. Drawing upon the author’s
professional experience, this book discusses the organizational structure and the operation of Confucius Institutes through the
perspective of organizational studies. It also offers insightful comparisons between Confucius Institutes and their counterparts in the
West, such as the British Council, Alliance Française, and Goethe-Institut.
Liu Cheng . Wenda Kongzi xueyuan ( ). Guangzhou, China: Huanan ligong daxue chubanshe, 2017.
The author of this book is a former Chinese director of Lancaster University Confucius Institute as well as a researcher on the
Confucius Institute project. This book is organized into a dialogic format, and it covers a series of aspects that are of interest to
students and observers of the Confucius Institute, including the motivation for higher education institutions to set up Confucius
Institutes, the mechanisms through which Confucius Institutes operate, and the geographical distribution and the typology of Confucius
Institutes and Classrooms.
Ning Jiming , ed. Kongzi xueyuan fazhan baogao ( ). Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2016.
This book represents the academic frontier of the study into Confucius Institutes in China. It offers information and reflection on the
operation, development, impacts, and perceptions of the Confucius Institutes project.
Sheffield Confucius Institute.
This webpage offers access to the online archive of Sheffield Confucius Institute’s Newsletters (in English) and News Briefings (in
Chinese), both reporting the main activities carried out by, or at, the institute. Altogether, there are fourteen issues of the biannual
Newsletters, published between 2007 and 2014, and forty-two issues of the monthly News Briefings, published between 2008 and
2013.
Stambach, Amy. Confucius and Crisis in American Universities: Culture, Capital, and Diplomacy in US Public Higher
Education. London: Routledge, 2014.
This book offers rich ethnographic data obtained through the author’s interviews with the teachers, students, administrators and
management involved in the operation of various Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in the United States. It provides insightful
analysis into the local context of the US-based Confucius Institutes. It also highlights some broader, often unexpected, impacts that
Confucius Institutes have on the American society.
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Periodicals
There are two periodicals specifically focusing on Confucius Institutes. Published bimonthly, Kongzi xueyuan 孔子学院 is a series of
bilingual magazines produced by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, featuring the activities of Confucius Institutes and
Classrooms all round the world as well as those of the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban. On the other hand, Kongzi xueyuan
fazhan yanjiu 孔子学院发展研究 is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal that aims to report the latest academic findings regarding the
Confucius Institute project.
Kongzi xueyuan . 2009–.
Launched in 2009, this magazine is now published in eleven bilingual editions (Chinese with English, Spanish, French, Russian, Thai,
Korean, Japanese, Arabic, German, Portuguese, and Italian). Each edition includes country-specific information. This magazine is a
source for up-to-date information regarding the development of Confucius Institutes. Each issue of every edition is available through
the magazine’s designated website.
Kongzi xueyuan fazhan yanjiu . 2012–.
This Chinese academic journal, published quarterly since 2012, is based at the Overseas Education College of Xiamen University.
Being the world’s only academic journal dedicated to the study of Confucius Institutes, this periodical publishes articles that analyze
Confucius Institutes and their development from various disciplinary perspectives, with most articles focusing on topics relevant to the
Chinese language and culture.
Diaries and Memoirs
The diaries and memoirs of former directors of Confucius Institutes not only provide useful information on the activities held by these
units but also offer valuable first-hand insights into their daily work of managing these units, including their interactions with various
stakeholders. The memoirs, such as Lai 2013, Zheng 2013, and Zhang and Xu 2014, often include specific sections on the activities
that were conducted or witnessed by the authors in their capacity as the Chinese director of Confucius Institutes. The dairies, such as
Wang 2011 and Liu 2014, often provide more detailed information on a wider range of issues related to both their own Confucius
Institutes and the entire Confucius Institute project. To this day, all the published diaries and memoirs regarding Confucius Institutes are
written by the Chinese directors. There is still no book-length diary or memoir published by the foreign directors of Confucius Institutes.
Lai Zhijing . Huanqiu tongmeng: Laibixi Kongzi xueyuan shouji ( ). Beijing: Zhongguo
renmin daxue chubanshe, 2013.
When this book was published, the author had served as the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Leipzig for
five years. This collection of essays offers first-hand information on many activities organized by the Confucius Institute under the
author’s directorship. It also provides insights on the interactions between the Confucius Institute and various local individuals and
organizations in Leipzig.
Liu Cheng . Xingzou Yinglun: Kongzi xueyuan Zhongfang yuanzhang rizhi ( ). Guangzhou,
China: Huanan ligong daxue chubanshe, 2014.
The author is the first Chinese director of the Lancaster University Confucius Institute in the United Kingdom, which was established at
the end of 2011. As a result, this diary includes substantial details on how a new Confucius Institute manages to overcome various
challenges in working with multiple stakeholders and to extend its influence through organizing an extensive range of activities.
Wang Hongtu . Bu du zai yixiang: Yige Kongzi xueyuan yuanzhang de riji ( ).
Shanghai: Shanghai weyi chubanshe, 2011.
This diary was written between November 2008 and November 2009. It records the daily activities of the author during the second year
of his tenure at the Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg as its Chinese director. The details on how the author
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communicated with the German director of the institute, the administrative staff and Chinese language teachers, and various
stakeholders of the institute are particularly fascinating.
Zhang Xiaohui and Xu Guanglie . Women ceng zouguo: Kongzi xueyuan Zhongfang yuanzhang shouji (
). Beijing: Waiyu jiaoxue yu yanjiu chubanshe, 2014.
This volume includes essays written by thirty-six former Chinese directors of various Confucius Institutes all over the world. In their
essays, many authors not only introduce the activities organized by their institutes, but also reflect on the interactions they had with
various stakeholders during their tenures. This volume has been adopted as training materials by the Confucius Institute Headquarters
for newly appointed Chinese directors of Confucius Institutes.
Zheng Qiwu . Hong yueliang: Yige Kongzi xueyuan yuanzhang de Hanjiao chuanqi (
). Wuhan, China: Wuhan daxue chubanshe, 2013.
This memoir includes primary information on the activities carried out by the Confucius Institute at the Middle East Technical University
in Ankara, Turkey, where the author worked as its Chinese director between 2008 and 2010.
Operation and Development
Generally speaking, four bodies of materials are useful in understanding the operation and development of Confucius Institutes. Firstly,
a considerable number of scholarly works have been devoted to reveal the organizational structure of Confucius Institutes and how
they operate on a daily basis. Some of these publications take on the Confucius Institute project as an entity, while others feature case
studies based on the observation and analysis of particular Confucius Institutes and Classrooms. Secondly, a related yet
distinguishable body of literature offers information and insights into the ongoing rapid development and expansion of Confucius
Institutes. Thirdly, several publications provide insightful discussions on the teachers and learners in Confucius Institutes and
Classrooms. Finally, more and more information has become available on how Confucius Institutes participate in and shape the
enterprise of teaching Chinese as a foreign language, thanks to a growing body of research literature and primary sources in this field.
Organization and Operation
As outlined in the bilingual template agreement on the establishment of new Confucius Institutes (available through the official website
of the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), cited under Monographs and Internet Portals), a Confucius Institute is typically a
joint venture set up between a non-Chinese host higher education institution and a Chinese partner institution. In most cases, the host
institution and its Chinese partner institution each appoint one director to co-direct the institute. A detailed account of the unique
structure of Confucius Institutes, including their daily operation, their links with the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban and the
host institutions, their sources of funding, and the processes of establishing new institutes, can be found in, for example, Starr 2009,
Yang 2010, Hartig 2012, and Yan 2014. In addition, Chen 2013; Yan, et al. 2015; and Gao, et al. 2016 offer case studies of the
organizational structures and daily operation of three Confucius Institutes, each of which locates in a different country. As explicitly
noted in Yang 2010, much more needs to be done to systematically assess the actual effectiveness of Confucius Institutes, as these
institutes are “still in their preliminary stage of development” (p. 235). That being said, there have been case studies based on first-
hand experience, such as Liu 2014 (cited under Diaries and Memoirs), Lahtinen 2015 (cited under Challenges), and Kragelund and
Hampwaye 2016, offering local insights into the complex nature of the dual leadership in Confucius Institutes and various challenges
that arise.
Chen Herong . Xifeng dongjian: Yu Paduofa Kongzi xueyuan tongxing ( ). Guangzhou,
China: Shijie tushu chubanshe Guangdong youxian gongsi, 2013.
This book is published bilingually in Chinese and English. It provides information on various aspects of the structure and operation of
the Instituto Confucio di Padova in Italy, including its process of establishment, activities in teaching Chinese language and promoting
Chinese culture, and interactions with various individuals and organizations in Italy.
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Gao Bo , Chang An , and Chang Shiru . “Kongzi xueyuan yunying moshi yanjiu: Yi Basailuona Kongyuan weili
( ).” Kongzi xueyuan fazhan yanjiu ( ) 6 (2016): 13–25.
This article provides detailed information on the organizational structure and daily operation of the Instituto Confucio de Barcelona in
Spain. It also includes an extensive coverage on the existing Chinese literature on the organization and operation of Confucius
Institutes.
Hartig, Falk. “Confucius Institutes and the Rise of China.” Journal of Chinese Political Science 17.1 (2012): 53–76.
This article contains an overview of the processes of establishing new Confucius Institutes as well as a general introduction on the
structure, financing, and activities of the existing Confucius Institutes.
Kragelund, Peter, and Godfrey Hampwaye. “The Confucius Institute at the University of Zambia: A New Direction in the
Internationalisation of African Higher Education?” In Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The Geography and
Power of Knowledge. Edited by Hanne Kirstine Adriansen, Lene Møller Madsen, and Stig Jensen, 83–104. London: Routledge,
2016.
This chapter provides detailed information on the Confucius Institute at the University of Zambia, including its trajectory of development
and its daily operation. It shows that while the Confucius Institute is “a result of collaboration between two partners in the Global
South,” its operation is rather “donor driven” (p. 83).
Starr, Don. “Chinese Language Education in Europe: The Confucius Institutes.” European Journal of Education 44.1 (2009):
65–82.
This article includes a comprehensive account of the organizational structure of Confucius Institutes. It also provides figures regarding
the spread of Confucius Institutes in Europe between 2004 and the end of 2007. While this article primarily focuses on Chinese
language education in Europe, its detailed overview goes well beyond Europe.
Yan Liping , Zhao Li , and Ban Zhenlin . “Jierjisi guoli minzu daxue Kongzi xueyuan Hanyu guojia jiaoyu
fazhan xianzhuang yu sikao ( ).” Xinjiang zhiye daxue xuebao (
) 23.3 (2015): 49–53.
This article provides detailed information on the operation of the Confucius Institute at Kyrgyz National University, based on the
authors’ participant observations. It also highlights some of the challenges that the featured Confucius Institute faces during its daily
operation, including its interactions with various academic and administrative units within the host higher education institution—Kyrgyz
National University.
Yan Xiaopeng . Kongzi xueyuan yu Huawen xuexiao fazhan bijiao yanjiu ( ). Hangzhou,
China: Zhejiang daxue chubanshe, 2014.
This book offers a detailed comparison of the external environments, the internal structures, and the pattern of development between
Confucius Institutes sponsored by China and the independent Chinese language schools outside China. In particular, this book
features a case study of the Confucius Institute in Burapha University, Thailand.
Yang, Rui. “Soft Power and Higher Education: An Examination of China’s Confucius Institutes.” Globalisation, Societies and
Education 8.2 (2010): 235–245.
This paper has a section on the operation of Confucius Institutes, which covers examples of Confucius Institutes in various countries,
including Australia, Italy, Iran, and the United States. It also offers insightful comments on the challenges and issues that these
Confucius Institutes face in their operation.
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Development and Expansion
Scholarly efforts have been made to depict the development and expansion of Confucius Institutes in various regions of the world.
Jiang 2011 and Nguyen 2014, for example, introduce the development of Confucius Institutes in Southeast Asia. Han and Mu 2016
depicts the challenges that Confucius Institutes face during their development in Russia. Hartig 2015 (cited under Contributing to
China’s Cultural and Public Diplomacy) offers detailed accounts of the rise of Confucius Institutes in Australia and Germany. King 2010,
Duan and Hu 2012, and King 2014 discuss the development of Confucius Institutes in Africa. Yuan 2014 and Lien and Oh 2014
analyze the spatial distribution of Confucius Institutes.
Duan Shengfeng and Hu Qiliang . “Libiliya daxue Kongzi xueyuan xianzhuang ji fazhan fenxi (
).” Changsha ligong daxue xuebao (shehui kexue ban) ( ) 27.2 (2012): 121–
124.
This article provides a detailed case study of the establishment and development of the Confucius Institute at the University of Liberia,
the first and only Confucius Institute in Liberia. It introduces several activities that the featured Confucius Institute has organized to
enhance its roles and influence in Liberia. It also highlights the institute’s trajectory of future development.
Han Lijun and Mu Dai . “Kongzi xueyuan wenhua chuanbo de kunjing yu yingdui: Yi Eluosi daxue de Kongzi
xueyuan weili ( ).” Renmin luntan ( ) 4 (2016): 253–255.
This article provides information on the challenges that several Confucius Institutes have had during their course of development in
Russia. It gives some vivid examples on the problems, doubts, and criticisms that these Confucius Institutes have been encountering.
Jiang Dongmei . “Yinni Kongzi xueyuan jiangshe de xianzhuang fenxi ji jiejue fangan (
).” Hunan keji xueyuan xuebao ( ) 32.3 (2011): 13–15.
This article was written by a Chinese language teacher at the Confucius Institute at the Bina Terampil Insan Persada in Jakarta,
Indonesia. It provides an overview of the process of the development of Confucius Institutes in Indonesia, highlighting the challenges
faced by these institutes as well as the successes achieved by them.
King, Kenneth. “China’s Cooperation in Education and Training with Kenya: A Different Model.” International Journal of
Educational Development 30 (2010): 488–496.
Drawing on over sixty interviews conducted in companies, development agencies, universities, ministries, public and private training
institutes in Kenya, as well as with many Kenyans who have acquired training in China, this article presents the first detailed study of
the characteristics and particularity of China’s rapidly growing education and training cooperation with Kenya through channels
including Confucius Institutes.
King, Kenneth. “China’s Higher Education Engagement with Africa: A Different Partnership and Cooperation Model?” In
Education, Learning, Training: Critical Issues for Development. Edited by Gilles Carbonnier, Michel Carton, and Kenneth
King, 152–173. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014.
This chapter includes a section that highlights the unique characteristics that Confucius Institutes have in comparison to the British
Council, Goethe Institute, and Alliance Française regarding their development and expansion in Africa.
Lien, Donald, and Chang Hoon Oh. “Determinants of the Confucius Institute Establishment.” The Quarterly Review of
Economics and Finance 54.3 (2014): 437–441.
This paper applies large-scale international data to investigate the determinants of the locations of Confucius Institutes. It reveals that
Confucius Institutes are under-represented in non-English, distant, less wealthy developing countries that trade infrequently with China.
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Nguyen, Van Chinh. “Confucius Institutes in the Mekong Region: China’s Soft Power or Soft Border?” Issues and Studies
50.4 (2014): 85–117.
This article introduces how China works to enhance the strength of its cultural power in relation to its neighbors through establishing
Confucius Institutes in the Mekong region. It also provides information on the responses that countries in the region have about the
development and expansion of these institutes.
Yuan Li . Jiyu kongjian buju de kongzi xueyuan fazhan dingliang yanjiu ( ). Beijing:
Zhongyang minzu daxue chubanshe, 2014.
This book suggests locations for new Confucius Institutes based on the existing Confucius Institutes’ trend of development during 2005
and 2011. It also includes information, data, and case studies to illustrate the development status of the existing Confucius Institutes.
Teachers and Learners
The rapid development of Confucius Institutes has generated an increasing demand for Chinese language teachers, and several
publications have offered insightful discussions on the implications of this process. Li and Tucker 2013 highlights the opportunities and
challenges associated with the process. Tinsley and Board 2014 addresses the emerging concerns over the quantity and quality of the
Chinese language teachers in Confucius Institutes. Du and Kirkebæk 2012 reports the local initiatives taken by staff members of a
Danish Confucius Institute to improve the effectiveness of Chinese teaching. Cáceres-Lorenzo 2015, through a case study of a
European Confucius Institute, provides information on the learners in some Confucius Institutes and classrooms. Pérez-Milans 2015
offers insights into the relations between the teachers and learners of the Chinese language in a secondary school that houses a high-
profile Confucius Classroom.
Cáceres-Lorenzo, MTeresa. “Teenagers Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language in a European Confucius Institute: The
Relationship between Language Learner Strategies and Successful Learning Factors.” Language Awareness 24.3 (2015):
255–272.
Drawing on the empirical data from a Spanish Confucius Institute, this paper reports the diverse learning outcomes achieved among
the young learners in the institute. It identifies the factors involved in making some learners in the institute perform better in the
standardized Chinese language tests than their classmates.
Du, Xiangyun, and Mads Jakob Kirkebæk, eds. Exploring Task-Based PBL in Chinese Teaching and Learning. Newcastle
upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2012.
Based on educational research conducted by the Confucius Institute for Innovation and Learning at Aalborg University in Denmark, this
work reports an alternative approach to teaching Chinese, i.e., renovating the current teaching practice by combining task-based
teaching and learning and problem- and/or project-based learning.
Li, Shuai, and G. Richard Tucker. “A Survey of the US Confucius Institutes: Opportunities and Challenges in Promoting
Chinese Language and Culture Education.” Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association 48.1 (2013): 29–53.
Drawing on the findings from a survey questionnaire conducted at twenty-four Confucius Institutes and qualitative interviews at four
focal Confucius Institutes, this paper reports on the opportunities and challenges facing the Confucius Institutes in the United States.
Pérez-Milans, Miguel. “Mandarin Chinese in London Education: Language Aspirations in a Working-Class Secondary
School.” Language Policy 14.2 (2015): 153–181.
Drawing from a sociolinguistic ethnography of Chinese language teaching and learning in a secondary school in London’s working-
class area, this paper examines the interaction between the teachers and learners in a Confucius Classroom. It also offers information
on the interactions between the Confucius Classroom, the host school, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters.
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Tinsley, Teresa, and Kathryn Board. The Teaching of Chinese in the UK: Research Report. London: Alcantara
Communications, 2014.
This research report was commissioned by the British Council, China, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban). It focuses
on the good practice and problems regarding teaching Chinese in schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language
Confucius Institutes have been playing a highly active and very significant role in promoting teaching Chinese as a foreign language,
as discussed in Ding and Saunders 2006, Gil 2009, and Zhao and Huang 2010. According to Churchman 2011 (cited under Doubts
and Criticisms) and Duff, et al. 2013, although there are many varieties of the Chinese language, the vast majority, if not all, Confucius
Institutes and Classrooms teach only Mandarin (or Putonghua). Such an approach, as argued by Zhu and Li 2014, has reshaped the
practice of teaching Chinese as a foreign language. In addition to these scholarly works, the industry standards, official guidance, and
teaching materials published by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban should be regarded as primary sources that offer explicit
and inexplicit information on Confucius Institutes’ position on teaching Chinese as a foreign language.
Ding, Sheng, and Robert A. Saunders. “Talking Up China: An Analysis of China’s Rising Cultural Power and Global Promotion
of the Chinese Language.” East Asia 23.2 (2006): 3–33.
This paper explains the connection between the Chinese language’s increasing popularity and China’s growing cultural power. It
illustrates that how Beijing, recognizing the centrality of Chinese language in China’s increasing cultural attractiveness, introduced a
series of strong measures to promote the global spread of Chinese language, including establishing Confucius Institutes overseas.
Duff, Patricia, Tim Anderson, Roma Ilnyckyj, Ella VanGaya, Rachel Wang, and Elliott Yates. Learning Chinese: Linguistic,
Sociocultural, and Narrative Perspectives. Boston and Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2013.
Drawing upon a multiple-case study of the experiences of five of the authors who are Anglo-Canadian learners of Chinese and cross-
case analysis, this book offers an in-depth investigation of the acquisition of Mandarin Chinese as a foreign/second language, exploring
the challenges and opportunities associated with learning it.
Gil, Jeffrey. “The Promotion of Chinese Language Learning and China’s Soft Power.” Asian Social Science 4.10 (2009): 117–
122.
This article offers a summary of China’s main programs, including Confucius Institutes, in promoting the Chinese language, which have
resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of learners worldwide.
Zhao, Hongqin, and Jianbin Huang. “China’s Policy of Chinese as a Foreign Language and the Use of Overseas Confucius
Institutes.” Educational Research for Policy and Practice 9.2 (2010): 127–142.
This paper includes a concise chronology of China’s policy of teaching Chinese as a foreign language (CFL), which is dated back to
before 1949. It also presents analysis of the modern evolution of China’s CFL curriculum policy, particularly through Confucius
Institutes.
Zhu, Hua, and Li, Wei. “Geopolitics and the Changing Hierarchies of the Chinese Language: Implications for Policy and
Practice of Chinese Language Teaching in Schools in Britain 2014.” The Modern Language Journal 98.1 (2014): 316–329.
With a specific focus on the empirical evidence in the United Kingdom, this article offers valuable insights into how Confucius Institutes’
rapid expansion has affected the teaching and learning of Chinese as a foreign language.
Industry Standards and Official Guidance
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The Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban has published a range of guiding materials to shape the sector of teaching Chinese as a
foreign language. Firstly, it sets the industry standards for teachers of Chinese to speakers of other languages (see Hanban 2007a)
and organizes the examination for CTCSOL (Certificate for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) (see CTCSOL). It
also formulates Chinese language proficiency scales for speakers of other languages (see Hanban 2007b). Moreover, it oversees the
organization and execution of the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi 汉语水平考试, or the Chinese Proficiency Test), the most recognized
standardized examinations that assess non-native speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic, and
professional lives. Detailed information regarding the HSK is available in Hanban 2009 and through the official website of Chinese
Testing International. It is worth to notice that the HSK scores have been made as one of the most important requirements for the
Confucius Institute Scholarships (CIS), and Confucius Institutes around the world also run preparation sessions for the HSK test.
Chinese Testing International.
Chinese title: Hanyu kaoshi fuwuwang (汉语考试服务网). This is the official website of the language testing service overseen by the
Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban. This website is in English as well as in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Russian, and
Spanish. It offers a wide range of materials and services regarding the HSK, including the schedules of the test.
Confucius Institute Scholarships (CIS).
Chinese title: Kongyuan jiangxuejin (孔院奖学金). This is the official website of the Confucius Institute Scholarships. It contains an
online application system and a list of the Chinese host universities which have been authorized to receive Confucius Institute
Scholarship holders. This website is bilingual in Chinese and English, and some webpages are often available in Spanish.
CTCSOL.
This is the official website dedicated to the CTCSOL (Certificate for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages)
examination, which is run by the Confucius Institute Headquarters. It provides a wide range of information, including the examination
guidelines. Although this website is named by the English abbreviation of the examination (i.e., CTCSOL), its actual contents are in
Chinese.
Hanban. Standards for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and
Research Press, 2007a.
This book, published bilingually in Chinese and English, is China’s first official industry standard for teachers of Chinese to speakers of
other languages. It consists of five modules: language knowledge and skills, culture and communication, second language acquisition
theories and learning strategies, teaching methods, and professionalism.
Hanban. The Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching
and Research Press, 2007b.
This bilingual publication sets out the first industry standard on the scales of the Chinese language proficiency of speakers of other
languages. It has been widely used as a guiding document for teaching Chinese as a foreign language around the world.
Hanban . Xin hanyu shuiping kaoshi dagang 1–6 ( 1–6). Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2009.
This series of six books, published by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, are the official guide for the HSK test. Each book in this
series is devoted to a particular level of the HSK test, containing information about the test and a sample paper.
Curricula, Resources, and Teaching Materials
The Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban has published a wide variety of materials for teaching Chinese as a foreign language.
Firstly, Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban 2014, the latest edition of the International Curriculum for Chinese Language
Education, provides generalized guidance on important aspects of Chinese language teaching and testing outside China. However,
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diversity exists among the actual curricula adopted by different Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, as evident in Zang 2012.
Secondly, the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban has set up a specialized website, titled Guoji Hanyu jiaocai bianxie zhinan (
际汉语教材编写指南, or Guidelines for CLT Materials Development), to provide guidance and resources for developers of materials for
teaching Chinese as a foreign language, and it has also directly produced several textbooks such as the Chengo Chinese series
(Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban 2006) and the Welcome to China series (Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban 2011),
which intend to integrate the teaching of Chinese language and the promotion of Chinese culture.
Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, ed. Chengfeng hanyu ( ). Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe, 2006.
Official English title of the series: Chengo Chinese. This textbook series is produced by the Confucius Institute Headquaters/Hanban as
one of the teaching materials recommended to learners who study Chinese as a foreign language. Each textbook is designed for
learners who aim to achieve a certain level of the HSK, and each textbook is accompanied by a volume of teaching guidance and
resources for instructors.
Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, ed. Zhongguo huanying ni ( ). Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe, 2011.
Official English title of the series: Welcome to China. This textbook series was originally designed for participants of the “Chinese
Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition. It now covers a very broad range of topics, including travelling advice and guidance about
various Chinese provinces and introductions to China’s traditional arts and cultural heritages. This textbook series aims to briefly inform
the readers on the language, culture, history, geography, and history of China.
Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban. International Curriculum for Chinese Language Education. Rev. ed. Beijing: Beijing
Language and Culture University Press, 2014.
This document, first published in 2008, has played a role in guiding the methods of teaching Chinese language in Confucius Institutes
and Classrooms. It provides information and guidance on various pedagogical issues including course design, teaching methods, and
delivery strategies. The revised edition, in English, was developed to fully comply with the structure of the HSK.
Guoji Hanyu jiaocai bianxie zhinan ( , or Guidelines for CLT Materials Development)
This website, set up by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, is a comprehensive and practical online application platform that
provides research references and evaluation references for Chinese language researchers, as well as guidance and service for
Chinese language teachers.
Zang Shengnan . “Haiwai Kongzi xueyuan kecheng jiegou yanjiu ( ).” Yunnan daxue xuebao
( ) 10.6 (2012): 78–83.
This article offers a brief comparison between the curriculum adopted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Western Australia
and that adopted by the Confucius Institute at the Queensland University of Technology. It provides evidence on, and insights into, the
diverse curricula adopted by different Confucius Institutes.
Promoting China’s Soft Power
Although Confucius Institutes are officially defined as non-profit educational organizations, their rapid spread has been widely regarded
by observers both within and outside China as a strategic move taken by the Chinese government to advance the country’s soft power.
The link between Confucius Institutes and China’s soft power is probably the most discussed topic among all scholarly studies
centered on the Institutes, and this topic has been explored and examined from multiple perspectives. Among the body of literature that
offers general discussions on this topic, some works focus on the important roles that Confucius Institutes play in promoting China’s
soft power, whereas others place more emphasis on the challenges and paradoxes faced by the institutes in terms of promoting
China’s soft power. A further body of literature explores the link between Confucius Institutes and China’s soft power explicitly within
the framework of cultural or public diplomacy.
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Roles and Mechanisms
Although the chief executive and general director of the Confucius Institutes officially denied that the Institute intends to project China’s
soft power (as featured in Confucius Institute Annual Development Reports, cited under Monographs and Internet Portals), a
considerable number of academic inquiries have been made to identify the mechanisms through which Confucius Institutes contribute
toward the advancing of China’s soft power. For example, Paradise 2009 discusses how Confucius Institutes “bolster” Beijing’s soft
power by projecting an image of China as “a benign country” through spreading the Chinese language and culture. Yang 2010 reveals
that Confucius Institutes provide Chinese universities and their foreign partners “a platform for collaboration and exchange,” as well as
a platform for the Chinese government to launch pro-Beijing initiatives. Hubbert 2014 offers anthropological observations and
reflections on how the practices of the teachers in a Confucius Classroom make some American students and parents “disaggregate
perceptions of a monolithic Chinese state in a manner that reinforces the state’s soft power goals” (p. 329). Zaharna, et al. 2014
examines how the development of Confucius Institutes is intertwined with China’s efforts to extend its influence to places that are
strategically important to the country. Nogayeva 2015 discusses how Confucius Institutes are used by the Chinese government as a
tool to eliminate the negative perceptions against China in Central Asia.
Hubbert, Jennifer. “Ambiguous States: Confucius Institutes and Chinese Soft Power in the U.S. Classroom.” PoLAR: Political
and Legal Anthropology Review 37.2 (2014): 329–349.
This article offers primary information and insightful reflections on how some American students and their parents experience the
Chinese state through their everyday encounters with its policies, representations, and representatives, which are channeled by a
Confucius Classroom. The informants include students, parents, teachers, and school administrators.
Nogayeva, Ainur. “Limitations of Chinese ‘Soft Power’ in Its Population and Language Policies in Central Asia.” Geopolitics
20.3 (2015): 583–605.
This article provides detailed information on the development of Confucius Institutes in Central Asia. It also analyzes the mechanisms
through which Confucius Institutes are skillfully used by the Chinese government as a tool to eliminate the negative perceptions
against China in the region.
Paradise, James F. “China and International Harmony: The Role of Confucius Institutes in Bolstering Beijing’s Soft Power.”
Asian Survey 49.4 (2009): 647–669.
This article is one of the most cited academic works that focus on the link between Confucius Institutes and China’s soft power.
Through the extensive use of secondary data as well as some primary interviews, this paper offers useful information on how
Confucius Institutes are viewed outside China, how they fit into China’s grand strategies, and what impacts they have on China’s global
standing.
Yang, Rui. “Soft Power and Higher Education: An Examination of China’s Confucius Institutes.” Globalisation, Societies and
Education 8.2 (2010): 235–245.
This article offers direct discussion on the role of higher education in projecting China’s soft power, with a specific focus on how
Confucius Institutes contribute toward the internationalization of China’s higher education sector through fostering academic
collaborations and exchanges between Chinese universities and their overseas partners. It includes an interesting case study of a
Confucius Institute in a major Australian university.
Zaharna, R. S., Jennifer Hubbert, and Falk Hartig. Confucius Institutes and the Globalization of China’s Soft Power. Los
Angeles: Figueroa Press, 2014.
This volume, organized by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, includes three papers that examine the link between Confucius
Institutes and China’s efforts in establishing and extending its global influence through different perspectives, covering Confucius
Institutes’ network structure, network synergy, network strategy, and their link with China’s broader foreign aid, and how they influence
the views that the participating students have on China and the Chinese culture.
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Challenges
Although Confucius Institutes have emerged as a noticeable force in the shaping of China’s soft power, they also face various
challenges during this process. Many works that investigate the link between the Confucius Institutes and China’s soft power (e.g.,
Paradise 2009 and Yang 2010, both cited under Roles and Mechanisms) also discuss how the institutes undermine, rather than
contribute toward, China’s soft power under certain circumstances. There are also many articles that specifically discuss the limits,
challenges, and paradoxes that the Confucius Institutes face during the course of shaping China’s soft power. For example, Lahtinen
2015, Ning 2015, and Lin 2016 highlight how issues associated with resource, management, and operation may undermine the
efficiency and effectiveness of Confucius Institutes in promoting China’s soft power. Lo and Pan 2016 and Zhou and Luk 2016, on the
other hand, question the moral challenges and ideological paradoxes that Confucius Institutes face in promoting China’s soft power.
Lahtinen, Anja. “China’s Soft Power: Challenges of Confucianism and Confucius Institutes.” Journal of Comparative Asian
Development 14.2 (2015): 200–226.
This article provides useful insights into the issues and problems associated with the management and operation of Confucius
Institutes, which sometimes undermine the roles that these institutes play in shaping China’s soft power. The author served as the
Finnish director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki and hence is able to provide valuable first-hand experience and
reflections on these issues and problems.
Lin Yichen . “Kua wenhua chuanbo yu wenhua guannian zhuanxing de juxian he kunjing – Yi Kongzi xueyuan weili (
).” Zhanwang yu tansuo ( ) 14.1 (2016): 37–58.
This article provides information on, and analysis of, how the lack of qualified and competent language teachers may undermine
China’s efforts to promote its language and culture through Confucius Institutes. It also highlights the challenges that Confucius
Institutes face in constructing a favorable image of China in the era when people are often exposed to the negative news of China on
the Internet.
Lo, Joe Tin-yau, and Suyan Pan. “Confucius Institutes and China’s Soft Power: Practices and Paradoxes.” Compare: A
Journal of Comparative and International Education 46.4 (2016): 512–532.
This article highlights that the use of Confucianism as an ideational attraction is problematic and historically unjustifiable, as the current
ruling regime in China emerged from a movement that rejected the traditional Chinese culture that is closely associated with
Confucianism. It also questions the reliability and validity of some methods that have been widely applied to measure the actual impact
and effectiveness of the Confucius Institutes.
Ning Yougen . Zhongguo zai Taiguo de wenhua ruanshili yanjiu – Yi Mahashalakan daxue Kongzi xueyuan wei li (
). MA dissertation, Xiamen University, 2015.
This dissertation offers an in-depth analysis of the problems and challenges that are faced by Mahasarakham University Confucius
Institute in promoting China’s soft power in Thailand. Drawing upon the author’s own experience and the information collected through
participant observations, this dissertation reveals that the Confucius Institutes, which cost a significant amount of human, financial, and
material resources, have not been effective in winning hearts and minds for China in Thailand.
Zhou, Ying, and Sabrina Luk. “Establishing Confucius Institutes: A Tool for Promoting China’s Soft Power?” Journal of
Contemporary China 25.100 (2016): 628–642.
This paper offers information collected through directors and officials of Confucius Institutes. It highlights the irony that China’s
aggressive initiatives in promoting its soft power through establishing new Confucius Institutes in fact triggers a sense of “China threat.”
It shows that many countries regard the Confucius Institute as a propaganda tool and a threat to academic freedom and the local
community.
Cultural and Public Diplomacy
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Many scholarly works are devoted to exploring, explaining, and examining how Confucius Institutes play a part in China’s cultural and
public diplomacy. Among this body of literature, two general strands can be identified. The first strand directly focuses on Confucius
Institutes, investigating or articulating the roles that these institutes play in advancing the foreign policy goals of the Chinese
government. The second strand provides a more general and comprehensive overview on China’s endeavors of cultural and public
diplomacy in recent years, with Confucius Institutes depicted as an important instrument and a typical example of such endeavors.
Contributing to China’s Cultural and Public Diplomacy
A considerable amount of scholarly effort has been made to examine how Confucius Institutes serve as a means by which the Chinese
state advances its foreign policy goals from different angles. For example, while Pan 2013, Hartig 2015, and Hartig 2016 (cited under
Monographs and Internet Portals) offer general accounts of the link between the activities of Confucius Institutes and China’s foreign
policy goals, Dai 2013 and Wheeler 2014 provide more specific discussions how teaching and promoting the Chinese language and
culture through Confucius Institutes help China to extend its global reach.
Dai Rong . Kongzi xueyuan yu Zhongguo yuyan wenhua waijiao ( ). Shanghai: Shanghai
shehui kexueyuan chubanshe, 2013.
This book is the first Chinese monograph specifically devoted to exploring how Confucius Institutes contribute to China’s cultural
diplomacy. Three out of its four chapters directly focus on Confucius Institutes, offering a comprehensive analysis of the goals,
organizational structure, developmental path, influence and impacts of these institutes, as well as the strengths, weakness, threats,
and opportunities these institutes facing in their further development.
Hartig, Falk. “Communicating China to the World: Confucius Institutes and China’s Strategic Narratives.” Politics 35.3–4
(2015): 245–258.
This article offers information on the strategies, goals, and impacts of Confucius Institutes, with a specific focus on how these institutes,
acting as an important tool in China’s public diplomacy, communicates the “correct” rather than the “real” version of China to the world.
Original empirical evidence is drawn from the author’s intensive interviews with managers or directors in several Confucius Institutes as
well as with relevant Chinese officials.
Pan, Su-Yan. “Confucius Institute Project: China’s Cultural Diplomacy and Soft Power Projection.” Asian Education and
Development Studies 2.1 (2013): 22–33.
This article offers analysis into several important issues regarding the link between Confucius Institutes and China’s cultural diplomacy,
including China’s rationales in establishing and expanding Confucius Institutes, the ties between Confucius Institutes and the Chinese
state, China’s diplomatic concerns over the name of Confucius Institutes, and the approaches through which Confucius Institutes
advance China’s foreign policy goals.
Wheeler, Anita. “Cultural Diplomacy, Language Planning, and the Case of the University of Nairobi Confucius Institute.”
Journal of Asian and African Studies 49.1 (2014): 49–63.
This article provides a case study based on the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi in the capital of Kenya. The empirical
evidence comes from the author’s interviews with thirty-three participants, including the students, alumni, teachers, and the
administrators of the Confucius Institute as well as Kenyans who worked directly with Chinese people or companies.
Signaling the Rise of China’s Cultural and Public Diplomacy
The development and expansion of Confucius Institutes is often depicted as a typical example to signal China’s recent endeavors in
further advancing its cultural and public diplomacy. For example, d’Hooghe 2007 and Wang 2008 view the rapid expansion of
Confucius Institutes as a sign of the “rise” of China’s public diplomacy; Barr 2012 considers the branding of Confucius Institutes as a
part of China’s “image campaign”; Metzgar 2016 views the development of Confucius Institutes, together with the establishment of
elitist China-based English-language postgraduate programs, as marking China’s effort of using higher education institutions as public
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diplomacy tools; and Shambaugh 2007 argues that China’s substantial effort to expand Confucius Institutes globally is a “prominent
example” of the country’s “external propaganda work.”
Barr, Michael. “Nation Branding as Nation Building: China’s Image Campaign.” East Asia 29.1 (2012): 81–94.
This article uses Confucius Institutes as an example to illustrate the links between China’s nation-building exercises and the Chinese
state’s efforts to “create and manage its identity as orderly, prosperous and legitimate.” It articulates how naming the institutes after
Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, reflects China’s efforts of crafting a positive image of itself both at home and aboard.
d’Hooghe, Ingrid. The Rise of China’s Public Diplomacy. The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations
Clingendael, 2007.
This report offers a general overview on how the Chinese state, either directly or indirectly through an increasing number of individuals
and civil society groups, tries to promote its image and interests with various public diplomacy tools, among which Confucius Institutes
are deemed as one of the most significant example.
Metzgar, Emily T. “Institutions of Higher Education as Public Diplomacy Tools: China-Based University Programs for the 21st
Century.” Journal of Studies in International Education 20.3 (2016): 223–241.
This article compares the types of higher education institutions used by China as public diplomacy tools: Confucius Institutes on the
one hand, and China-based English-taught postgraduate programs in top Chinese universities on the other. The author sees the
simultaneous emergence of both types of higher education institutions complement each other in promoting China’s soft power despite
the apparent differences in their developing strategies and orientations.
Shambaugh, David. “China’s Propaganda System: Institutions, Processes and Efficacy.” The China Quarterly 57 (2007): 25–
58.
This article is one of the most authoritative overviews of the institutions, processes, and efficacy of the propaganda system in
contemporary China, and Confucius Institutes are identified as a “prominent example” of China’s external propaganda work. Although
its discussion on Confucius Institutes is relatively brief, this article offers valuable information regarding how the funding for Confucius
Institutes is laundered within China’s political system.
Wang, Yiwei. “Public Diplomacy and the Rise of Chinese Soft Power.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and
Social Science 616 (2008): 257–273.
This highly cited article is one of the early attempts to make sense of the Chinese government’s increasing understanding and
deployment of public diplomacy. Throughout this article, Confucius Institutes are constantly used as an important example to showcase
the advantages and challenges that China has in regard to the further advancing of its skills and effectiveness in applying public
diplomacy to achieve its foreign policy goals.
Perceptions and Reactions
The rapid growth of Confucius Institutes has attracted a considerable level of interest not only from the stakeholders in countries where
Confucius Institutes and Classrooms are established but also from a wide range of keen observers in and beyond academia. It has
become obvious that the perceptions of, and the reactions toward, Confucius Institutes are highly diverse among individuals and
institutions who assess Confucius Institutes and their activities from different perspectives. This is demonstrated in academic articles
such as Chen 2013 and Leung and du Cros 2015 and reflected by the archive of a major online debate over Confucius Institutes as
featured in ChinaFile 2014a and ChinaFile 2014b.
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Chen Haiyan . “2012 nian Kongzi xueyuan xiangguan baodao ji yanjiu wenxian pingxi (2012
).” Sichuan ligong xueyuan xuebao (shehui kexue ban) ( ) 28.2 (2013): 81–85.
This article offers an overall review of how the development of Confucius Institutes was received by the Chinese traditional and online
media in 2012. The findings reveal that, while the major state-sponsored traditional media showed significant interest and support
toward Confucius Institutes, the online media tended to express more concerns and doubts on the costs and benefits of setting up new
Confucius Institutes.
“The Debate over Confucius Institutes: A ChinaFile Conversation.” ChinaFile (23 June 2014a).
This archive captures the first part of an online discussion among some leading China experts over whether Confucius Institutes are
anathema to academic freedom, especially the possible costs and benefits of having a Confucius Institute in a university. It should be
noted that, as specified by ChinaFile, this archive does not include opinions from people who work for or with a Confucius Institute.
“The Debate over Confucius Institutes: Part II.” ChinaFile (1 July 2014b).
This is the archive of the second part of an online discussion initiated by ChinaFire among some leading China experts over whether
Confucius Institutes are anathema to academic freedom.
Leung, Chi-Cheung and Hilary du Cros. “Confucius Institutes: Multiple Reactions and Interactions.” China: An International
Journal 12.2 (2015): 66–86.
This article reports empirical findings from a primary survey with academics, researchers, and administrators who study or work with
Confucius Institutes. It shows that the general perceptions of Confucius Institutes are rather mixed. While some respondents agree that
Confucius Institutes promote the learning of Chinese language and culture, others accuse the institutes of expanding China’s soft
power at the expense of the host countries.
Doubts and Criticisms
The doubts and criticisms toward Confucius Institutes emerged both within and outside China in just a few years after the
establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Seoul, Korea, in 2004. In some host countries of Confucius Institutes, primarily the
English-speaking countries which are traditionally labelled as the “West,” Confucius Institutes have been criticized by some observers
as an “academic malware” that undermines academic freedom or as China’s “Trojan-horse” for prompting the country’s political
influence. Examples of such criticisms include Chey 2008, Mosher 2012, Sahlins 2013, and Sahlins 2015. In addition, Hughes 2014
argues that the missions of Confucius Institutes are not compliant with those of the host higher education institutions. Churchman 2011
and Stambach 2015 both point out the control and influence that Confucius Institutes have over the ideas and ideologies embedded in
the Chinese language and culture that these institutes teach at the host universities. The “Braga incident” in July 2014, when the boss
of the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban ordered her staff to remove pages referring to the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for
International Scholarly Exchange from the published program for an academic conference that was particularly sponsored by Beijing,
attracted much media coverage and is often referred as a typical example of Confucius Institutes’ interference in academic freedom
(see, for example, European Association for Chinese Studies 2014, Greatrex 2014). Criticisms of Confucius Institutes from within
China, on the other hand, tend to focus more on the effectiveness and efficiency of Confucius Institutes, based on comparisons
between their costs and benefits. Examples include Chen 2013 (cited under Perceptions and Reactions) and Ning 2015 (cited under
Challenges).
Chey, Jocelyn. “Chinese ‘Soft Power’—Cultural Diplomacy and the Confucius Institutes.” The Sydney Papers 20.1 (2008): 32–
46.
This is a transcript of a talk given at the Sydney Institute. The speaker, who is a former diplomat and visiting professor, calls for
universities to “vigilantly guard their autonomy and academic freedom” from the possible influence of Confucius Institutes, which the
speaker sees as closely linked with the Chinese government in many aspects.
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Churchman, Michael. “Confucius Institutes and Controlling Chinese Languages” China Heritage Quarterly 26 (2011).
This article reviews how the Chinese state manages to encourage non-Chinese to extend their knowledge of China in ways that are
acceptable to Beijing through controlling the version of the Chinese language that is taught in Confucius Institutes. The author argues
this practice is “by nature detrimental to a wider understanding of China as is the exclusion of certain censored topics.”
European Association for Chinese Studies. “The “Braga Incident”—Timeline with Links to Articles and Comments.” 31
August 2014.
This webpage provides links to a wide range of media coverage—mostly negative—on the “Braga Incident,” including materials in
English, Japanese, Portuguese, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese.
Greatrex, Roger. “Report: The Deletion of Pages from EACS Conference Materials in Braga (July 2014).” European
Association for Chinese Studies (30 July 2014).
This report was issued by the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS) shortly after the “Braga incident.” In addition to a
detailed account on what happened during the incident, this report also clearly states the disapproval of the EACS on the censoring
attempts from the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban.
Hughes, Christopher R. “Confucius Institutes and the University: Distinguishing the Political Mission from the Cultural.”
Issues and Studies 50.4 (2014): 45–83.
This paper offers a careful look at the organizational links between Confucius Institutes and the Chinese Communist Party. It argues
that the mission of the Confucius Institute, which the author sees as a political one, is not compliant with the mission of modern
universities.
Mosher, Steven W. “Confucius Institutes: Trojan Horses with Chinese Characteristics.” Population Research Institute (28
March 2012).
This is a transcript of a testimony presented to the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in which
the author accuses Confucius Institutes of “sanitizing China’s image abroad, enhancing its ‘soft power’ globally,” and creating a new
generation of China watchers who “[are] well-disposed towards the Communist dictatorship.”
Peterson, Rachelle. Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education. New York: The
National Association of Scholars, 2017.
In this report, published by and on behalf of the National Association of Scholars in New York, the author examines the staffing,
organization, operation, teaching activities of some Confucius Institutes in the United States, and questions the way in which the
teachers and operators of Confucius Institutes deal with the topics and information that they consider as “politically sensitive” or
“inappropriate.” This report, based on the information gathered from a series of case studies, advocates that “all universities close their
Confucius Institutes” to “protect the integrity of American education and intellectual freedom.”
Sahlins, Marshall. “China U.” The Nation (18 November 2013): 36–41.
In this magazine article that has been widely circulated within and beyond academia, Marshall Sahlins, a prominent anthropologist and
a committed activist, criticizes Confucius Institutes for censoring political discussions and restraining the free exchange of ideas.
Following this article, several learned societies, such as the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the American
Association of University Professors, called on North American universities and colleges to cease hosting Confucius Institutes.
Sahlins, Marshall. Confucius Institutes: Academic Malware. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2015.
This brief monograph, developed from an article that the author published under the same title in the Asia-Pacific Journal, is one of the
most influential publications that criticize the Confucius Institute. Though not a typical academic publication, this volume includes an
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extensive range of materials which, according to the author, reflect the threats that the Confucius Institute presents to the principles of
academic freedom and integrity.
Stambach, Amy. “Confucius Institute Programming in the United States: Language Ideology, Hegemony, and the Making of
Chinese Culture in University Classes.” Anthropology and Education Quarterly 40.1 (2015): 55–70.
This paper is based on the author’s first-hand experience of attending various teaching activities offered in a Confucius Institute,
including two eight-week courses and additional workshops and evening sessions. The author sees Confucius Institutes as ideological
constructs that reflect and (re)produce China’s official policies.
Defenses and Praises
Admiring comments concerning the value of Confucius Institutes are made from two aspects. On the one hand, according to the
arguments made in, for example, Liu and An 2014 and McCord 2014, the criticisms that the Western media and scholars have made
on Confucius Institutes are regarded by some as selective and biased. On the other hand, Confucius Institutes are regarded by others
as making positive contributions to the host countries. Li, et al. 2009 and Selmier 2016, for example, argue that Confucius Institutes are
needed by the host countries to meet the increasing demands of Chinese language learning. Lien and Co 2013 suggests that
Confucius Institutes contribute positively to the stimulation of trade between China and the host countries.
Li, Hsi Chang, Sam Mirmirani, Joseph A. Ilacqua. “Confucius Institutes: Distributed Leadership and Knowledge Sharing in a
Worldwide Network.” The Learning Organization 16.6 (2009): 469–482.
This article highlights the many similarities that exist between the operations of Confucius Institutes and multinational businesses. It
discusses the roles that Confucius Institutes play in distributing knowledge on Chinese language and culture. It also offers examples on
how some Confucius Institutes are not as politically driven as they are often portrayed by the critics.
Lien, Donald, and Catherine Yap Co. “The Effect of Confucius Institutes on US Exports to China: A State Level Analysis.”
International Review of Economics and Finance 27 (2013): 566–571.
This paper applies a trade gravity model to examine the effects of Confucius Institutes on the exports of US states to China in 2006–
2010. It finds that the trade with China grows significantly after the establishment of new Confucius Institutes. According to the authors,
this paper “provides strong robust evidence that CIs [Confucius Institutes] provide direct economic benefits to the United States” (p.
566).
Liu Cheng and An Ran . “Yishi xingtai xia de xinwen tushi: Yingguo zhuliu meiti dui Kongzi xueyuan de ‘xuanzexing
wudu’ ( ”).” Xinwenjie ( ) 6 (2014): 32–39.
This article critically reviews the discourses of four major British media outlets (the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and the
BBC) on Confucius Institutes between 2004 and 2011. It demonstrates how these media choose to report and discuss Confucius
Institutes. The authors also argue that the mainstream British media is selective and biased in the framing of Confucius Institutes,
placing disproportionally high emphasis on the negativities.
McCord, Edward A. “Confucius Institute: Hardly a Threat to Academic Freedoms.” The Diplomat (27 March 2014).
This is a rejoinder to Sahlins 2013 (cited under Doubts and Criticisms). The author discusses how Confucius Institutes normally
operate in America, including the actual roles played by the directors of these institutes. This article argues that “there is little evidence
to suggest Confucius Institutes on US campuses restrain academic freedoms” and that the criticisms toward Confucius Institutes “often
leap from suspicions and concerns to a conclusion of fact.”
Selmier, W. Travis. “Why the English-Speaking World Needs Confucius Institute?” International Communication of Chinese
Culture 3.2 (2016): 261–274.
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This article reviews the challenges faced by the monolingual native English speakers in a globalized world. It highlights the gaps
between the demand and the supply for Chinese language training, arguing that Confucius Institutes may narrow this gap and help
young native English speakers by “showing them that understanding another language gives them not only a tool, but also provides
them with a bridge to an ancient, exciting, vibrant culture” (p. 272).
Media Perceptions
The perceptions of Confucius Institutes in the mass media have received a significant amount of scholarly attention, and this topic has
been examined against data from various countries. For example, Li and Dai 2011; Luek, et al. 2014; Ye 2015; and Metzgar and Su
2016 offer useful information on the media coverage of Confucius Institutes in the United States. Peng and Yu 2016 focuses on the
British media. Zhang and Song 2016 provides a case study in Russia. Fallon 2014 assesses the diverse images of Confucius Institutes
portrayed in China’s domestic media. Wang and Adamso 2015 compares the various perceptions of Confucius Institutes in China and
the United States.
Fallon, Tracey. “Chinese Fever and Cool Heads: Confucius Institutes and China’s National Identities.” China Media Research
10.1 (2014): 35–46.
This article offers useful information on how Confucius Institutes are viewed in China’s domestic media by analyzing two sets of
discourses surrounding Confucius Institutes: the official discourses that appear in major state-sponsored newspapers, magazines, and
TV shows on the one hand, and the unofficial texts of Chinese bloggers and netizens on the other.
Li Kaisheng and Dai Changzheng . “Kongzi xueyuan zai Meiguo de yulun huanjing pinggu (
).” Shijie jingji yu zhengzhi ( ) 7 (2011): 76–93.
This article reviews the perceptions of Confucius Institutes in thirty-three US-based print and online media between 2005 and 2010. A
corpus of eighty articles were examined both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Luek, Therese L., Val S. Pipps, and Yang Lin. “China’s Soft Power: A New York Times Introduction of the Confucius Institute.”
Howard Journal of Communications 25.3 (2014): 324–349.
Although this article only covers one newspaper—the New York Times—it offers a lens for understanding how media and journalism
shape the image of Confucius Institutes among the American public, thanks to the significant influence that the featured newspaper
has on shaping the agenda for other media venues in the United States.
Metzgar, Emily T., and Jing Su. “Friends from Afar? American Media Coverage of China’s Confucius Institutes” Journalism
Practice (2016): 1–26.
This study presents a content analysis of 183 articles focusing specifically on the activities of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in
the United States published since 2003. It provides information on the distribution of these articles by year and region. It also reveals
the tone and sources of the sample articles. To date, this article provides the most comprehensive information on the portrayals of
Confucius Institutes in the US media.
Peng Fei and Yu Xiao . “Yingguo zhuliu meiti baodao zhong de Kongzi xueyuan xingxiang yu huayu tixi (
).” Xueshu tansuo ( ) 11 (2016): 112–119.
This article reviews the discourse on Confucius Institutes presented in seventeen articles that were published by major British media
between 2012 and 2015.
Wang, Danping, and Bob Adamso. “War and Peace: Perceptions of Confucius Institutes in China and USA.” The Asia-Pacific
Education Researcher 24.1 (2015): 225–234.
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This paper offers discussions on a wide range of perceptions of Confucius Institutes in China and the United States. The comparisons
of these perceptions, especially the comparison between the official and unofficial views within China, highlight the complexity in the
perceptions that different groups of people have developed on Confucius Institutes.
Ye Ying . “Cong waimei baodao kan Kongzi xueyuan de haiwai xingxiang ( ).” Sichuan
daxue xuebao (zhexue shehui kexue ban) ( ) 198 (2015): 48–57.
This article reviews the media coverage of four leading American media outlets on Confucius Institutes between 2006 and 2013. It
offers an informative breakdown of the subjects that these news reports covered.
Zhang Jing and Song Yiyang . “Cong Eluosi meiti de xinwen baodao kan Kongzi xueyuan de haiwai xingxiang (
).” Kongzi xueyuan fazhan yanjiu ( ) 11 (2016): 26–35.
This article provides a case study on the media perceptions of Confucius Institutes in Russia. It analyzes how five major Russian print
and online news providers covered the news after the Confucius Institute in the Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University was
alleged by local prosecutors to not have been properly registered and to have breached taxation laws.
Impact
The impact of Confucius Institutes has been assessed from two major perspectives. The first perspective, viewing Confucius Institutes
as players of China’s cultural and public diplomacy, focuses on the impact that these institutes have on the crafting of a desired
external sociopolitical environment for China. The second perspective goes further to examine the impact that Confucius Institutes
have on the economic and people flows between China and the host countries of these institutes. One needs to be cautious, however,
about the methodological challenges with regards to assessing the impact, or the potential impact, that Confucius Institutes may have.
Paradise 2009 (cited under Roles and Mechanisms) highlights the difficulties in disentangling the effects of Confucius Institutes from
those of a variety of China’s other cultural promotion activities.
Impact on China’s Image and Influence
The actual impact that Confucius Institutes have on the crafting of a desired external sociopolitical environment for China has been
assessed by a considerable number of scholars through various methods. The findings are highly diverse. Wu 2011, for example, finds
that the participants of a summer language course provided by two Confucius Institutes in the United States generally increased their
appreciation of China and its people after the training. Kluver 2014 shows that Confucius Institutes serve as sites of symbolic Chinese
cultural capital and hence can enhance China’s bargaining power and geopolitical influence. However, drawing on information collected
through multiple methods, Dinnie and Lio 2010, Xie and Page 2013, and Gil 2015 all find that Confucius Institutes do not have any
significant impact on China’s image and soft power despite the impressive frequency and coverage of their activities. Servaes 2016
and Zhou and Luk 2016 (cited under Challenges) argue that the rapid expansion of Confucius Institutes may actually backfire on
China’s efforts to craft a more desirable external environment as this is often perceived as a threat to academic independence and
freedom.
Dinnie, Keith, and Ada Lio. “Enhancing China’s Image in Japan: Developing the Nation Brand through Public Diplomacy.”
Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 6.3 (2010): 198–220.
Drawing on extensive interviews, this paper assesses the level of success regarding the Chinese public diplomacy in Japan, of which
an important part is establishing and operating Confucius Institutes. According to the evidence reported in this paper, despite the
investment that China has made in establishing Confucius Institutes in several Japanese universities, the interviewees showed a low
level of awareness of their existence.
Gil, Jeffrey. “China’s Cultural Projection: A Discussion of the Confucius Institutes.” China: An International Journal 13.1
(2015): 200–226.
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This paper uses a wide variety of materials, including “academic literature, media reports, internet documents, interviews with people
involved in or with an interest in the Confucius Institute project, interviews with Chinese-language teachers, and a survey of Chinese-
language students’ views” (p. 220). It suggests that the impressive frequency and coverage of the activities hosted by Confucius
Institutes have not necessarily contributed to the crafting of China’s desired external environment.
Kluver, Randolph. “The Sage as Strategy: Nodes, Networks, and the Quest for Geopolitical Power in the Confucius Institute.”
Communication, Culture & Critique 7 (2014): 192–209.
This paper highlights the roles that the Confucius Institutes play in enhancing China’s communication power. Unlike many articles that
directly focus on how Confucius Institutes serve as China’s propaganda tools, this paper takes a different angle to assess the impact of
Confucius Institutes. That is, the author regards these institutes as sites for China’s cultural capital which enhance China’s geopolitical
influence in a globalized world.
Servaes, Jan. “The Chinese Dream Shattered between Hard and Soft Power?” Media, Culture & Society 38.3 (2016): 437–449.
This article includes a section that specifically discusses the impact of the Confucius Institutes on China’s image and soft power in the
context of the Xi Jinping administration’s growing emphasis on the “China Dream.” The author highlights the ironical facts that
Confucius Institutes sometimes harm China’s soft power abroad despite the fact that its initial objective is quite the opposite.
Wu Xiaoping . “Zhongguo xingxiang de tisheng: laizi kongzi xueyuan jiaoxue de qishi ( :
).” Waijiao pinglun ( ) 28.1 (2011): 89–102.
Drawing on primary surveys of participants of the summer courses provided by two Confucius Institutes in the United States, this paper
shows that the training offered in these institutes has a positive impact in improving China’s image among the participants of the
featured summer courses.
Xie, Tao, and Benjamin I. Page. “What Affects China’s National Image? A Cross-National Study of Public Opinion” Journal of
Contemporary China 22.83 (2013): 850–867.
This paper reports on a quantitative analysis of the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Survey, with a specific focus on the “macro-level
sources of variations across countries regrading China’s national image” (p. 850). It shows that the number of Confucius Institutes and
classrooms in a country has no significant measurable impact on China’s image in that country, raising doubts on the actual impact that
Confucius Institutes have on promoting China’s image.
Impact on Economic and People Flows
Although Confucius Institutes are primarily regarded as promoters of the Chinese language and culture, some scholarly efforts have
been made to investigate the wider impact of these institutes on the trading, financial, and people flows between China and the host
countries. For example, Lien, et al. 2012; Lien and Co 2013; Xie 2016; and Akhtaruzzaman, et al. 2017 provide useful information on
the impact that Confucius Institutes have on China’s trading and financial links with host countries. On the other hand, Lien, et al. 2014;
Miao and Chen 2015; and Lin, et al. 2016 discuss the impact of Confucius Institutes on the people and educational flows between
China and the host countries. Most of these studies apply panel gravity models to examine the links between the establishment of new
Confucius Institutes and the subsequent change of the economic and people flows between China and the host countries.
Akhtaruzzaman, Muhammad, Nathan Berg, and Donald Lien. “Confucius Institutes and FDI Flows from China to Africa.”
China Economic Review 44 (2017): 241–252.
Drawing on quantitative data from 2004 (when the first Confucius Institutes were established in Africa) through 2012, this paper
estimates the relevance between the establishment of new Confucius Institutes and China’s economic relations with African countries.
The empirical results indicate that the establishment of a new Confucius Institute in an African country is often followed by an increase
in China’s direct investment in that country, whereas the link between Confucius Institutes and China’s foreign aid in Africa does not
seem to be apparent.
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Lien, Donald, Sucharita Ghosh, and Steven Yamarik. “Does the Confucius Institute Impact International Travel to China? A
Panel Data Analysis.” Applied Economics 46.17 (2014): 1985–1995.
This paper, applying a panel gravity model of inbound tourism flows to China between 2004 and 2010, examines the impact that
Confucius Institutes have on inbound travel to China. To this day, it is the only academic article which specifically studies the impact of
Confucius Institutes on the tourism flow.
Lien, Donald, Chang Hoon Oh, and W. Travis Selmier. “Confucius Institute Effects on China’s Trade and FDI: Isn’t It Delightful
When Folks Afar Study Hanyu?” International Review of Economics and Finance 21.1 (2012): 147–155.
Based on international trading and financial data, this paper reveals the difference between the impact that Confucius Institutes have
on China’s trade and FDI in developing countries and that in developed countries. It also shows that Confucius Institutes “command
stronger impacts on FDI than on [China’s] outward trade” (p. 147).
Lien, Donald, and Catherine Yap Co. “The Effect of Confucius Institutes on US Exports to China: A State Level Analysis.”
International Review of Economics and Finance 27 (2013): 566–571.
This paper applies a similar research design used in Lien, et al. 2012, but with a specific focus on the United States, which not only is
China’s largest trading partner but also houses more Confucius Institutes and classrooms than any other country or territory in the
world. This paper shows that there is “a 5–6% increase in state exports for each additional Confucius Institute established in a given
state” (p. 566).
Lin Hang , Xie Zhizhong , and Zheng Ruiyun . “Kongzi xueyuan shifou cujin le haiwai xuesheng laihua liuxue
( ).” Guoji shangwu ( ) 5 (2016): 52–65.
This paper reports the results of an empirical test based on the panel data that covers forty countries from 2004 to 2014. It shows that
establishing new Confucius Institutes often results in more foreign students going to China from the developing countries but fewer
from the developed countries.
Miao Liqing and Chen Cong . “Kongzi xueyuan dui woguo gaodeng jiaoyu chukou de yingxiang (
).” Guoji shangwu ( ) 6 (2015): 27–35.
This paper demonstrates a clear positive correlation between the number of Confucius Institutes in a country and China’s educational
export to the country through a panel data analysis. It also reveals that this positive correlation is more significant in countries with
common-law traditions and a higher volume of trading with China.
Xie Mengjun . “Wenhua nengfou yinzhi chukou ( ).” Guoji maoyi wenti ( ) 1 (2016): 3–11.
This article provides evidence on the link between Confucius Institutes and China’s export to countries along the Silk Road Economic
Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the (One) Belt and (One) Road Initiative, where China prioritizes its
trading and investing engagements.
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Chapter
The Confucius Institutes are one of China’s most important public diplomacy efforts to use language learning and cultural exchange to enhance national power through strong cultural attraction. This chapter discusses the development of Confucius Institutes around the world, and evaluates the effectiveness and limitations of using Confucius Institutes in promoting China’s national image.
Article
This article examines the impact of Confucius Institutes on inbound travel to China. We estimate a panel gravity model of inbound tourism flows to China between 2004 and 2010. We use a Poisson pseudo-maximum likelihood estimator to control for heteroscedasticity endemic in gravity models (Santos Silva and Tenreyro, 2006). We find that the presence of Confucius Institute(s) in the source country increases overall tourism in general and business and worker tourists in particular.
Article
This paper uses the trade gravity model to examine the effects of Confucius Institutes (CIs) on the exports of US states to China in 2006–2010. Overall, we detect a 5–6% increase in state exports for each additional CI branch established in a given state. This provides strong robust evidence that CIs provide direct economic benefits to the United States.