• VEREȘ Diana-Elena Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai Cluj-Napoca



: China, soft power;, Confucianism;, Confucius Institutes


In the past few decades soft power has become, , the most commonly used foreign term on the Asian continent and has received special attention both from specialists in International Relations and from the representatives of the Chinese
Communist Party. Stepping into the third millennium, China shows a tendency of reconfiguration for its position and role in relation to the other great powers of the world, and adopts the soft power strategy, which is adapted to assert itself globally.
For almost two decades in which the concept of soft power has been studied and attempts to adapt it to the country’s values have been made, China concludes that its tradition, culture, history and philosophy can be an advantage in creating links with
the other countries from Asia as well as those outside the Asian continent. In this regard, the Chinese government is allocating a generous amount of money for the establishment of Chinese language, culture and literature centers, named Confucius Institute around the world, starting with Asia. At present, China argues that their role is particularly important, as these centers, built on the model of English, French, or Spanish language centers, are not only aimed at the Chinese-speaking public, but are an intermediary between China and the host country, 
in order to establish cooperative relations, presenting Chinese culture, history and civilization and attracting as many sympathizers as possible.
The article presents, describes and analyzes the structure and operation of the Confucius Institutes from a Chinese perspective, and illustrates the relationship between China’s soft power policy and their operating program, as exposed by Chinese sources as well


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China’s new openness to the West is intended

to send a message of goodwill, to make itself known

and thus to establish cooperative international

relations with a view to economic development. To

this end, the Chinese government is using the soft

power instruments at its disposal: millennia-old

culture, civilization, philosophy and the Chinese

language, and is banking on the fact that anything

different from the West will appeal primarily to the

civilian population. According to this plan, China

believes it will succeed in holding a dialogue with

democratic countries, establishing close economic

relations and partnerships, distracting the public

from the shortcomings left behind by a communiststyle government and emphasizing the positive

elements in the country’s culture.

From the information presented in the article,

it can be concluded that China’s image is currently

positioned between two extremes: The first, which is

represented by its positive and benevolent attitude,

its desire to conquer with its charm, relying on its

thousands of years of history, culture and philosophy,

and proposing itself as a model of society that has

endured over millennia, and the second, rather

skeptical perspective of some Western countries that

associate the Confucius Institutes with the Trojan

horse, considering them as extensions of the Chinese

government in the space outside China.

On the other hand, we cannot exclude the

real situation, at least at the national level, that

their number and status as relatively new Cultural

Centers has not allowed them to exert too much

influence to be considered valuable instruments

of soft power politics. It is true that in the rest of

Europe and beyond, the number of these Institutes

is significant, which may raise questions and

attract skepticism from analysts. This could indeed

motivate the decision of foreign universities to stop

collaborating with Hanban and suspend the work

of the Confucius Institutes.

As it is already known, the effects of soft power

are not visible in a short time, and it is necessary to

form an objective view before labelling them as a

threat or a harmless means of gaining easier access

to Chinese language, culture and civilization, a

thorough analysis conducted over a long period

of time, a possible establishment of an Institutes

research Centre operating independently of

Hanban, and empowered to refute or confirm any

assumptions about the Confucius Institutes and the

usefulness of their actions, is needed.

Bulletin of ”Carol I” National Defence University

September 2022

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