Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Confucius Statue in Qufu, China, his Centre of Learning

Confucius Institute

China has long been considered to have the patience of Job (hardly a communist trait you say?) when it sets objectives for itself as an international actor. It appears prepared to wait 30 years to catch the USA militarily, less time with an overseas investment strategy. There are theories that the global Chinese diaspora is some form of sleeper cell policy. Supposedly, Chinese ethnic communities in foreign countries await future trigger action from Beijing which will signify definitive Sino world dominance. This is the context for the recent polemic in Canada regarding the Confucius Institute. This central government organization (with a co-opted name to appeal to non-communists) has a mandate from Beijing to spread Chinese culture across the world. In Canada the CI offers free language classes and cultural seminars in universities and educational organizations e.g. Toronto District School Board. Sounds great (free trips to the PRC are sometimes available too) but there is a suspicion they are only enticements to expose unwitting Canadians to Chinese government policies which in any other form would be unpalatable. Is it also a way to identify foreign nationals as future spies? Where there’s smoke there’s fire?