A Decade of Wielding Soft Power through Confucius Institutes
Confucius Institutes (CIs) promote Chinese language and culture abroad and facilitate cultural exchange. They have been criticized due to concerns of rising Chinese influence in the countries in which they operate. Drawing on fieldwork at CIs in different parts of the world and the related literature, this chapter unpacks the often intense debate over the function and value of these high-profile examples of Chinese soft power generation. It argues that CIs are still significantly limited in what they can achieve, and in order to use the limited potential CIs have the number of Institutes has to be reduced so that a smaller number of CIs with proper funding and staffing can act as a real facilitator of China’s soft power.