China Policy Institute Blog

Confucius Institutes and China’s ‘soft power’

Written by James F. Scotton. Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government’s language and cultural centres hosted by universities throughout the world, are facing increasing academic resistance in the west. The Institutes, first launched in 2004, have been a remarkable success. By 2011 there were more than 400 Confucius Institutes plus an equal number of Confucius Classrooms in …

Language, National Identity and Nationalism in China

Written by Yingjie Guo. The close relationship between language, national identity and nationalism is rarely disputed. Though few would insist on a strong interconnection between language and the development of ‘intellectual peculiarity’, it is easy to agree that ancestral language and national continuity are intertwined and that nationalism has been inextricably bound up with language. …

The Avalanche of the 500,000: Why China is Exporting Students

Written by Guido Santevecchi. Beanstalk International Bilingual School (BIBS) is an unconventional international school in Beijing. Scattered in the garden in front of the building, one can see lines of tables covered by tents, providing shade from the daylight (being suntanned is not in keeping with Chinese culture). What is peculiar about these lines of tables …

Multilingualism, Discourse and Identity in China

Written by Linda Tsung. China is one of the most multilingual countries in the world. The government of the People’s Republic of China promotes the country as a harmonious and unified nation with 56 distinct ethnic groups who speak more than 400 languages. The government has not only legally recognised multilingualism, but has also publicly …

“I have an accent”: British Chinese Young People on Learning and Speaking Chinese

Written by Ada Mau. Going to ‘Chinese school’ at the weekend is an experience shared by many young people of Chinese heritage growing up in the US, UK, Australia and other Western countries. Many children start attending these community-based schools from a young age in order to learn Chinese language(s) and sometimes cultural activities such as …

Chinese Language and Beijing’s Public Diplomacy

Written by Sheng Ding. The political effects of language acquisition, culture exchange, and education contact are important in respect to soft power appeal, and have received growing attention from policy-makers around the world. Indeed, those who will be impacted most by the appeal of a country’s soft power are the people who can speak its language …

China’s Language Policies

Written by Li Wei. Since 2006, China’s State Language Commission, an administrative department under the Ministry of Education, has been compiling an annual Green Paper on the so-called ‘language life’ in China. These Green Papers are published under the title Language Situation in China, and the English translation of the key parts of the reports …

Learning from experience: The Greater China Field School

Written by Andreas Fulda. The Greater China region is undergoing profound changes. While the process of economic integration of Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China continues unabated, there are increasing signs of social and political fragmentation in all three regions. China’s rise is thus overshadowed by rising public discontent at its periphery. Hong Kong’s Umbrella …

The paradox at the heart of China’s quest to rid universities of Western values

Written by Wu Bin. Chinese universities are gripped in a debate about whether students should be exposed to “Western values”. A campaign was ignited in late January by Yuan Guiren, China’s minister of education, who sought to ban the use of textbooks promoting what he termed “Western values” in university campuses and classrooms. Despite the …

Why reforms to China’s college entrance exam are so revolutionary

Written by John Morgan and Bin Wu. China’s Ministry of Education has announced a major reform of the National College Entrance Examination, known as Gaokao. Under the proposed changes, the entry of new students to higher education will no longer be based purely on performance in three major subjects: mathematics, Chinese and English. It will …