‘The Confucius Institute Project’ – consisting of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, the posting of Chinese language teachers to overseas schools and universities and the Chinese Bridge language competition – represents an attempt by China to extend its influence globally through the use of soft power. Facilitated by a rapidly increasing demand for Chinese language learning, it has established a presence across the globe and made valuable contributions to the learning and teaching of Chinese. However, this has not necessarily led to an increasingly positive view of China, either at a political or a societal level. Through an analysis of official documents, interviews with those involved, a survey of Chinese-language learners and a study of academic and media sources, the author evaluates the aims of the project, and discusses whether these aims are being met.
Jeffrey Gil is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics, Flinders University, Australia. His research interests include Chinese foreign policy and Chinese as a foreign language.
Published by Multilingual Matters.