Confucius Institutes Belong to China as Well as the World (Wanghailou Column)

[Source]    People’s Daily Overseas Edition [Time]    2018-02-07 09:38:54 

The second conference of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform deliberated and passed the Guidelines on Promoting Reform and Development of Confucius Institutes recently, asserting its direction in the new era. Confucius Institutes have become a people-to-people and cultural exchange brand featuring inclusiveness, shared development and harmonious coexistence between China and foreign countries. There are 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Confucius Classrooms in 146 countries and regions across the world.

In his congratulatory letter to the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Confucius Institutes and the first Confucius Institute Day, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out Confucius Institutes belong to China and the World. All of the above stresses the following three aspects:

Confucius Institutes are not mere tellers of Chinese stories, but also an incubator for people-to-people exchanges. It shoulders expectations to present the real, concrete and comprehensive picture of China through promoting and spreading cultural genes, cultural spirits and fruits of cultural innovation of the Chinese nation. Confucius Institutes play an exemplary role in well telling Chinese stories, making China’s voices heard and well illustrating Chinese characteristics. Whether these deeds can enhance our creativity, influence and public trust in international discourse depends on interactions. In other words, whether we are able to develop a deep affinity with foreign countries relies on interactions. General Secretary Xi Jinping views Confucius Institutes as the window and bridge for linguistic and cultural exchanges between China and the world. The people-to-people interactions are made possible through a nation’s most valuable cultural trait, its language, and it does show itself more than capable of leading to the close affinity between people. For instance, the Confucius Institute at the University of Hamburg is built into a community of cultural center for local German citizens, at which small talks between Chinese and German have strengthened the bond of friendship between the two countries.

Confucius Institutes not only foster affinity towards China in the international community but also the sense of a community with a shared future for mankind. Upholding the motto of “mutual respect, friendly consultation, equality and mutual benefit”, they strive to build a peaceful external environment and pool invincible international strength to achieve the great dream. In the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping called on the people of all countries to work together in building a community with a shared future for mankind. The 12th Confucius Institute Conference held at the end of last year also centered on “Working Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind”. Confucius Institutes are supposed to develop the sense of a community with a shared future for mankind and promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations in the local area.

Confucius Institutes, beyond showing China’s concern to the wellbeing of all across its borders, also demonstrate confidence in its path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics. While cultivating the sense of the whole world as one community, they also reveal the mission of the Communist Party of China, which is to make new and greater contributions to mankind. The most effective way to promote exchanges between China and foreign countries is to treat each other with sincerity. And the prerequisite for well telling Chinese stories lies in that there must be stories worthy of being told, voices worthy of being heard and characteristics worthy of being illustrated. These stories, voices, and characteristics are rooted in but not limited to fine traditional cultural values of China. And the culture that we have full confidence in also includes revolutionary culture, especially the socialist culture with Chinese characteristics that is rooted in the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Only when we have built socialism with Chinese characteristics by virtue of an infinitely vast platform, a history with unmatched depth, and incomparable resolve, can we witness a surging confidence in our path, theory, system, and culture. It then offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to achieve independence and peaceful development. China’s wisdom and plan will also contribute to solving the challenge facing all countries that feature interwoven interests, rise and fall as well as shared weal and woe.

In the new era, Confucius Institutes enjoy a promising future.

(The author is a research fellow at the Center for China-Germany Socio-Cultural Exchange, Tongji University and a research fellow at Research Institute for International and Comparative Education, Shanghai Normal University)

(Story by Yuke, People’s Daily Overseas Edition Page 1, January 31st, 2018)


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