Classic Jappanica: Chinese Language Schools to Open Worldwide

Here’s a blog post from my old Adamu’s Jappanica (now continuing as DC Honyaku) that takes us back to the good old days of December 2004:

Nihao, everybody! I’m back from Thanksgiving break and don’t want to do any work, so I’m back blogging. This right here is the last sign I need to prove to me that the Chinese are taking over. We might as well just sign up for these classes now before it becomes mandatory. Here’s part of a Japanese report on it:

“Confucius Institute” aims to open 100 schools

China has embarked on a project to spread the Chinese language around the world. In cooperation with universities in various countries, they plan to open 100 “Confucius Institutes” specializing in Chinese education.

Increased interest in learning Chinese as a result of China’s rapid development may behind this effort, but it is likely that far-reaching nationalist strategies to strengthen China’s global influence and presence may be afoot.

Before the opening, a National Chinese Language Guidance Group signed a pact with Washington, DC-area University of Maryland to open America’s first Confucius Institute in an effort to promote the Chinese language in America’s legal, financial, and government centers.

A representative of the Group, Vice Chairman Chang, said “Japan’s educational institutions are also cooperating on opening an Institute.” It has been reported that Sweden, Uzbekistan and other countries have also signed pacts to open schools. The Institutes work by the hosting institution providing the land and facilities for the schools while the Chinese government provides teachers and materials.

Why the choice of “Confucius” for the name of the front-line headquarters for Chinese language propagation? Experts say it’s because it’s not only well known but also easy to understand, making it perfect as China’s “unified brand.”

Chang pointed out that “there is a strong demand for the development of Chinese language guides in Africa and Egypt due to the rise in overseas tourism by Chinese people.”

And here’s an excerpt of Xinwha‘s report:

Zhou Ji, Chinese minister of Education and Li Bin, Chinese ambassador to Republic of Korea attended the opening ceremony, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Zhou said the Confucius Institute, as the school is called, is the first of its kind in a foreign country. He said his administration will spare no effort in promoting Chinese learning in the Republic of Korea by supporting the institute’s operations.

Students from the Republic of Korea are the largest overseas student source in China and vice versa.

The institute is seen as an effort to expand Chinese language in foreign countries, said Zhang Guoqiang, deputy director of National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL), sponsor of the institute.

A rising number of international students are showing a keen desire to learn Chinese, he added.

Confucius institutes, which have been globally approved, will be established in Asia, Africa and Europe.

A search for “Confucius Institute” at Google News these days reveals that the University of Maryland is about to open its Institute in the near future.

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