BYU Asian Studies Journal


BYU Asian Studies, confucius institutes


During the past ten years, China has actively promoted its Confucius Institute (CI), a program of instruction in Chinese language and culture for college students outside of China. The program’s stated purpose is to meet an existing demand for education in Chinese language and culture, with the intent of strengthening relationships between China and other countries in order to promote a more harmonious world. However, many have viewed the CI program as nothing more than an expansion of Beijing’s soft power. Some Western institutions have even expelled CIs from their campuses. The growing concern suggests that China’s offering of what appears to be a generous gift may instead be a Trojan horse. Interested college students are left to wonder whether attending a CI will be detrimental to their academic freedom or whether those who criticize the CI program are merely looking a gift horse in the mouth.