CHINA: Confucius Institute Prospers as China Attempts to Change Foreign Misconceptions

The Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) has recently joined with seventeen other foreign universities to set up Confucius Institutes, non-profit institutions that promote Chinese language and culture internationally, in fourteen countries overseas.  Zhang Xiaohui, director of the Office of Confucius Institutes, BFSU, said the university plans to establish eight more Confucius Institutes to reach the goal of 25 set forth in the university’s five-year plan.  The intention of the institutes is to promote the perception of China in a better way than most foreigners could attain from their local media.  Chen Jia of China Daily, the country’s leading English-language newspaper, recently wrote an article on the merits and international acknowledgment of these Confucius programs in which she quotes Ding Anqi, deputy dean of the School of Chinese Language and Literature under the BFSU, and former Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at Nuernberg-Erlangen in Germany, who said the institute helpes to promote a positive image of China among typical Germans who would formerly rely on local media that gives vague and usually negative impressions. “They did not know much about China except Chinese food and kung-fu,” Ding said. “Through our institute, they encounter a more vivid view of life in China than the newspapers give them.”


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