Spreading Chinese culture in a smarter way
Updated: 2015-12-08 08:45
By Zhang Xiaoling, Guo Zhenzhi and Tony Hong(China Daily)
Komatsu, a student from Japan, delivers a lecture in Chinese to international students during the final competition. [Photo by Yan Dongjie/chinadaily.com.cn]
Confucius Institutes can be said to be a global phenomenon as they have spread across the world and established partnerships with prestigious universities. But they have also attracted criticism, with some commentators describing them as an arm of the Chinese government.
In developing too rapidly, they have become a victim of their own success, and drawn unnecessary attention and scrutiny.
As such, hopes of spreading Chinese culture in other countries may lie with the little known Chinese Culture Centers. Even though the CCCs were initiated much earlier, in 1988, their importance has been overshadowed by the Confucius Institute project. But the CCCs have not drawn as much criticism from Western elites because they have been playing a "quieter but influential" role in public diplomacy. Operating in far more limited numbers, the CCCs help spread Chinese culture, and try to give China an international image and enhance China's influence in a more sophisticated way.
The CCCs are affiliated to China's Ministry of Culture and work with local cultural organizations, thus avoiding any criticism that may interfere with academic freedom. They are individual centers that endeavor to enhance understanding and friendship with the host countries by organizing cultural activities.