Posts tagged ‘Confucius Institute’

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, November 2013 (2)


1. Radio Botswana

Another log that takes a look at African radio, after these notes on Voice of Nigeria in September. Radio Botswana is owned by the government of the southern African country where the diamonds are forever. Radio Botswana broadcasts in English and Setswana, and appears to have done so since about 1966, formerly as Radio Bechuanaland. (Yes, KT, the station is online, too, and at least one out of the country’s two million citizens is a musician.)

Obviously, China Radio International (CRI) or, more precisely, a company with a name that amounts to Global Field Media company (环球广域传媒公司), has opened a studio there, but only recently. The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs reported on July 16 this year that on July 15, CRI’s director Wang Gengnian (王庚年), Chinese ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang (郑竹强), a deputy secretary from the Botswanean presidential office of public administration as well as delegates from the a/m Global Field Media company, Radio Botswana and from Chinese and overseas Chinese circles had been present at an opening ceremony of a CRI Gabarone program studio (中国国际广播电台哈博罗内节目制作室). CRI is scheduled to contribute material to the programs produced there, as is Radio Botswana.

Three days later, according to Xinhua, Wang Gengnian and the Global Field Media company were in Zambia, for the inauguration of an Overseas Chinese Weekly (华侨周报) there. China’s ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao (周欲晓) also attended the ceremony.

Radio Botswana QSL, 1986

Radio Botswana QSL, 1986

The Voice of America (VoA) operates from Moepeng Hill, Botswana, some twenty kilometers from Selebi-Phikwe. According to the British DX Club’s Africa on Shortwave, Radio Botswana was last heard on shortwave in early 2004 (In Britain, anyway). That said, the station is a domestic broadcaster, with no ambitions to be heard worldwide.


2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
ARG – Argentina; BOT – Botswana;  CUB – Cuba; IRL – Ireland; NZL – New Zealand; THA – Thailand; TIB – Tibet.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; F – French.

Signal Quality
S (strength) / I (interferences) / O (overall merit)
5 = excellent; 3 = fair; 1 = barely audible.







 4920 PBS Tibet TIB E Nov 2 16:00 2 4 2
 4905 PBS Tibet TIB E Nov 2 16:00 1 2 1
 5505 Shannon
IRL E Nov 2 17:55 5 5 5
 4930 VoA*) BOT E Nov 2 17:58 4 3 3
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 05:45 4 5 4
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 06:45 5 5 5
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 07:00 5 5 5
 9965 Radio
THA E Nov 9 19:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG F Nov 22 03:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C Nov 22 04:30 4 4 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C Nov 22 04:40 3 3 3
15720 Radio New
NZL E Nov 27 12:30 4 5 4
11725 Radio New
NZL E Nov 30 07:00 5 5 4



*) See 1) Radio Botswana.



Previous shortwave logs »


Friday, October 19, 2012

CRI on Kabul University’s Chinese Faculty: Great Opportunities

The following is a translation of a China Radio International (CRI) article published online on October 12.

These students who are reading Chinese aloud, along with their teacher, are twenty Afghan students who are currently studying in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, at Taiyuan University of Technology’s international exchange institute. Why are so many Afghan students there in Taiyuan, you may ask. Taiyuan University of Technology international exchange institute deputy Dean of Faculty, Professor Zhao Enyuan, explains: “When Afghan president Karzai visited China in 2008, the two sides signed a cultural assistance agreement which included some important content about China helping Kabul University to establish a Confucius Institute, and to build, on that foundation, Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. The Confucius Institute assigned Taiyuan University to do this work. To this end, we started running school at Kabul University in 2008, and these students enrolled in March 2010, and came [to China] in September 2011. You can say that they are third-formers, now in their sixth semester.”

跟着老师朗读汉语的同学是来自阿富汗的20位留学生,他们现就读于中国山西省太原理工大学国际交流学院。您也许会问,这么多阿富汗留学 生为何集中在太原学习中文呢?太原理工大学国际交流学院副院长赵恩源教授介绍说:“2008年阿富汗卡尔扎伊总统访问中国的时候,双方签署了一个文化援助 协议,其中一项重要内容就是中国帮助喀布尔大学建设孔子学院,并在此基础上建设喀布尔大学汉语系。太原理工大学受孔子学院总部的指派承担了这项工作。为 此,我们08年就在阿富汗喀布尔大学开始办学了,这批学生是2010年3月份入学的,2011年9月份过来的,他们算是三年级了,正在进行第六学期的学 习。”

Currently, as the security situation in Afghanistan remains grim, equipment at the university is backward, funding is sparse, and one can imagine that under these circumstances, setting up the first Chinese faculty in Afghanistan’s history  here is difficult. But all along, the enthusiasm among young Afghans to learn Chinese is high. Young Afghan Hu Shan, explaining his reasons to learn Chinese, says: “I have been here in China for a year now. I really love learning Chinese. When I had passed the university entry exam, I chose learning Chinese. I first learned at Kabul University for a year and a half, and through my efforts, I now have the opportunity to study in China. Because our country and China have always maintained friendly relations, I also like Chinese culture, and I am interested in the lives of the Chinese people.”

目前,由于阿富汗国内安全局势依然严峻,大学教学设备落后、资金短缺,在这种情况下开设阿富汗历史上第一个汉语专业的难度可想而知。不 过阿富汗青年学习汉语的热情却始终很高。阿富汗青年胡山在谈到学习汉语的原因时说:“我来中国已经一年了。我很爱学习汉语。考大学以后选择了学汉语。我在 喀布尔大学先学了一年半,通过努力能有这个机会来中国。因为我们的国家和中国一直都保持友好关系,我也很喜欢中国文化,对中国人的生活我也很感兴趣。”

Deputy Dean of Faculty, Professor Zhao Enyuan, explains that when they started recruiting students in Afghanistan, young Afghans who wanted to enroll or asked for information came in an endless stream, their enthusiasm for learning Chinese was unusually high, and surprised the recruiting teachers. Good employment prospects probably also support the interest to learn Chinese. Zhao Enyuan says: “some of our students were asked to do translation work while having just started learning. There were two fourth-formers who did this kind of work. Locals had come straight to the Chinese faculty, and I recommended two students. In one day, they earned 200 US dollars, and they worked for 15 days. They had lessons in the morning, and after lessons, they just ran (off to their work). Locals, once they have business with China, are in need of their translation work. Working for tens of days, these two students earned 2,000 or 3,000 US dollars. One can say that provided that you learn Chinese well, such opportunities are ample there.

赵恩源副院长介绍说,当初在阿富汗招生的时候,前来报名和咨询的阿富汗青年络绎不绝,他们学习汉语的热情异常高涨,让从事招生工作的老 师都感到很吃惊。良好的就业前景应该也是让学汉语在阿富汗受追捧的重要原因。赵恩源说:“我们有的学生上学的时候就被请去做翻译工作。有两个四年级的学生 做过这样的工作。当地人直接找到汉语系,我就推荐了两个人去。一天就是200美元,干了15天。学生上午上课,一下课就跑了(去当翻译)。当地人跟中国公 司有一单生意,所以需要他们这样的翻译。工作了十几天,这两个学生就挣了2、3千美元啊。可以说只要是把汉语学好,这样的机会在当地是非常多的。”

It is understood that because of limited funding, only the minority of the many Afghans who are studying Chinese can really get to China to take further lessons there. But taking Afghanistan’s particular national situation into account and to give more students the opportunity to come to China, the Confucius Institute headquarter does its best to support Kabul University. Zhao Enyuan says: “From this class of 20 Afghan students, eighteen have applied for (Chinese government-provided) scholarships. On average, every Confucius institute only has a quota of two or three scholarships granted.

据了解,由于经费有限,在众多学习汉语的阿富汗青年中,真正能来华进修学习的留学生还只是少数。但考虑到阿富汗的特殊国情,为了让该校 汉语系学生获得更多来华深造的机会,孔子学院总部尽最大可能给予了喀布尔大学以支持。赵恩源说:“现在这班有20个阿富汗学生,其中18个申请到了(中国 政府提供的)奖学金。如果绝对平均的话,每个孔子学院平均只有2到3个奖学金名额。对阿富汗学生来华学习,孔子学院总部是很支持的,让他们尽可能来中国学 习。”

Afghan students are well aware that this opportunity doesn’t come easily, and are therefore hard-working learners. Their diligence deeply touches the teachers. Chang Lili, in charge of organizing the lessons, says: “All in all, I’m in touch with three classes of students. Compared to overseas students from other countries, they are learning diligently, they know how to learn. Many of them even continue studying in the classroom until midnight. They are really hard-working students.”

阿富汗留学生深知这样的机会来之不易,因此平日里学习特别刻苦,而他们的勤奋好学精神也深深打动了学校的老师。负责阿富汗留学生教学安排的常莉丽老 师说:“我一共接触了三批学生,都挺好的。比别的国家来的留学生都努力,很知道学习。他们很多学生来了以后有的甚至到晚上12点还在教室里学习,很刻 苦。”

For the students to learn at ease, the university has done its best to satisfy their various needs. To respect their faith, the university has opened a special prayer room, and to provide them with food they can eat without reservations, a halal canteen has been set up. Not only that: the university also organized [a] form master[s] to take care of their studies and lives. Class monitor Annu Wali says: “As a class monitor representing everyone, I would like to tell Afghans at home that we are fine, that we learn well, and that life is also very good. I hope that Afghan lives will also get better and better.”

为了让阿富汗留学生能够安心学习,校方还尽可能满足他们的各种需求。为尊重留学生的宗教信仰,学校专门开设了祷告室;为了让他们在异国 他乡吃得顺口还特别设立了清真餐厅。不仅如此,学校还安排了班主任照管他们的学习和生活。班长买买提?安努瓦里说:“我作为班长想代表大家对家里的阿富汗 人说,我们在这里很好,学习很好,生活也很好。希望以后阿富汗人的生活也越来越好。”

A comfortable learning environment puts these students who came from afar in a position to focus on learning Chinese, and under the high-level cultivation from their teachers and by their own diligence, most of them will find ideal jobs. Aomar is from the first semester who graduated at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty, and after that, because of his excellent study results, he became a Chinese teacher at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. He says: “I’m now a teacher at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. My first objective is to teach Afghans at Kabul University Chinese in their own language.”

舒适的学习环境让这些远道而来的留学生可以专注地学习汉语,在中方老师的辛勤培养和他们个人的勤奋努力下,从这里毕业的留学生大多找到 了理想的工作。奥马尔是喀布尔大学汉语系第一期的毕业生,毕业后,他以优异的成绩留校成为了阿富汗喀布尔大学中文系的一名汉语老师。他说:“我现在是喀布 尔大学中文系的一位汉语老师。首先我当老师的第一个目的是因为以前在阿富汗没有人教中文,我是要用我们的语言教阿富汗人学中文。”

Now, the freshmen at Kabul University Chinese faculty in 2012 have enrolled, full of expectations and hoping to learn Chinese well. This is also the wish of professor Zhao Enyuan for these new students. He says: “I hope that the students, no matter if currently in China or in their last semester in Kabul, or those I haven’t met yet, will learn Chinese diligently and skillfully. China is the only neighbor without a war between it and Afghanistan during the past 500 years. Afghans are also extremely friendly towards China. I hope that these students will learn Chinese well, understand Chinese culture, and become bridges and links for Sino-Afghan friendship. I also hope that through their improved dissemination of Chinese language and Chinese culture, more Afghans will understand this friendly, amicable and hard-working Chinese nation.”

目前,喀布尔大学汉语系2012级的新生已经入学,他们对未来充满期待,希望能把汉语学好,这也是赵恩源教授对这些新同学的期望。他 说:“我希望不管是正在中国学习的还是正在喀布尔大学读最后一个学期的,还有我没见过面的学生们,更加勤奋扎实地学习汉语。中国是阿富汗近500年来唯一 没有发生过战争的邻国,阿富汗人对中国也是十分友好的。我希望这些学生把汉语学好,熟悉中国文化,成为中阿友谊的桥梁和纽带。同时我也希望通过他们更好地 传播汉语语言和中国文化,让更多的阿富汗人了解中国这样一个友好、友善、勤劳的民族。”



» Remaking the Watchdog, WSJ, Oct 18, 2012
» The biggest investor, Xinhua, June 6, 2012
» Deutsche Welle director quotes Karzai, Deutsche Welle TV, June 2011
» A Taste of Chinese Life, China Daily, Dec 2, 2009
» Give us Afghanistan, Sep 22, 2009

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hu Jintao’s Africa Forum Speech: Talent Exchange, People-to-People Diplomacy, and no Bullying

Chinese party and state chairman Hu Jintao announced on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation’s 5th ministerial-level meeting’s opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday that China would provide 20 billion US dollars in loans to African countries during the next three years. This is twice as much as China’s commitment of three years ago, writes the BBC‘s Mandarin website. China had offered loans both on the Cooperation Forum’s 2006 and 2009 ministerial-level meetings. These two-days events are held every three years.

In 2006, Hu had announced 500 million US dollars in loans, and in 2009, chief state councillor Wen Jiabao announced ten billion (probably – the BBC apparently forgot a number of zeros) US dollars. Before the meeting this year, Chinese trade minister Chen Deming (陈德铭) wrote in an article that Sino-African bilateral trade had reached a historic record high of 166 billion US dollars.

Foreign ministers, officials in charge of foreign trade, and UN Secretary General Ban Kyi-Moon, as well as the African Union’s outgoing chairman Jean Ping took part in the opening ceremony on Thursday.

From the script of Hu’s speech in full, as published by Phoenix Media (Hong Kong):

China and Africa have cooperatively set up 29 Confucius Institutes or Confucius Classrooms. In a “20+20 cooperation plan”, twenty renowned universities from China and twenty renowned universities from Africa have built relationships between each other. China and Africa help each other in international affairs, united collaboration has become closer, the two sides cooperate closely on issues such as United Nations reform, reacting to climate change, sustainable development, the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round and other major issues, to protect developing countries’ common interests, to promote the democratization of international relations, to promote a direction in the international order which will be fairer and more reasonable.


Compared with six years ago, the international situation has changed greatly. Peace, development and cooperation remain the trends of our times, but there are clearly unstable and undetermined factors in the international trends. They remain affected by the global financial crisis, rising and falling international and regional hotspots, and an unfair and unreasonable international political and economic order which still affects and restricts global peace and development. Many developing countries’ development momentum is growing, but also facing difficulties and challenges.
同6年前相比,国际形势又发生了很大变化,和平、发展、合作仍然是时代潮流,但国际形势中不稳定不确定因素明显增多,国际金融危机影响犹存,国际和地区热点此起彼伏,不公正不合理的国际政治经济秩序依然影响和制约着世界和平与发展。广大发展中国家发展势头不断增乾但仍面临很多困难和挑战 。

After remarks of China being the world’s biggest developing country, and Africa consisting of the world’s greatest number of developing countries, as well as words of gratitude for African support in China’s development during the past six decades, Hu stated a number of promises, many of which are mentioned in a report on the BBC Mandarin website.

China also pledged to help in African human-resource training and provides 18,000 government scholarships, as well as dispatching medical staff to Africa, writes the BBC Mandarin website. China would [continue to] help to increase African agricultural technology and to improve individual countries’ customs systems and trade facilitation, Hu is quoted. China would also support African-Union peace-keeping missions, provide financial support for military development [to that end], and provide training for African-Union peace and security staff.

Hu called for a new situation in a Sino-African strategic partnership:

China and Africa should closely coordinate their cooperation in international affairs. We want to jointly protect the UN Charter’s purposes and principles, advocate the democratization of international relations, promote harmonious and balanced global development, oppose bullying of the weak by the strong, the strong bullying the weak, leaning on ones wealth to suppress the poor, we will strengthen discussion and coordination, take care of each others mutual concerns, join hands in reacting to global climate change, food security, sustainable development and other global challenges.

People-to-people diplomacy plays a role, too. As the fourth item of five, non-governmental or

people-to-people friendship shall establish a solid public-opinion basis. China proposes to carry out “Sino-African people-to-people friendship actions”, to support and encourage bilateral non-governmental organizations, cooperation in the exchange between women and the young, to create a “Sino-African News Exchange Center” in China, to encourage exchanges and activities between Sino-African bilateral news media people, support the exchange of news people between news organizations of both sides, to continue the implementation of “Sino-African joint research and exchange plan”, and sponsorship of 100 projects of exchange and cooperation between academics and researchers.

Not everything is as smooth as Hu’s speech on Thursday might suggest. Zimbabwe, one of China’s closest allies (and whose president, Robert Mugabe, is definitely more interested in democratization of international relations), is investigating persistent reports of rampant abuse of workers by Chinese employers. But then, the statement came from Zimbabwe’s minister of labor and social welfare, who is a member of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDL) – and the MDL is definitely the weaker half of Zimbabwe’s uneasy “coalition” government between president Mugabe’s cronies and the once oppositional MDL.


» Enhancing Zhou Enlai’s Convivial Diplomacy, February 20, 2012
» Universal Values, Competing Interests, July 16, 2011
» Namibia’s Vision 2030, March 26, 2010
» Old Comrades never Cheat, Aug 27, 2009
» Is AGOA Good Enough, Aug 5, 2009


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zhao Lingmin: Confucius Institutes, and the Three Layers of a Country’s Image

Kungfu, Bremen-Hemelingen (archive)

A Kungfu Institute, for starters (Bremen-Hemelingen – archive)

Nanfang People Weekly (南方人物周刊) is one of the papers published by the Nanfang News Media Group, or Southern Media Group. Other well-known papers would be Nanfang Weekend (Southern Weekend (南方周末), or – daily rather than weekly – Nanfang Ribao. The Nanfang / Southern Daily is an organ of the CCP, on Guangdong’s provincial level, according to Baidu Baike. It was founded on October 23, 1949, and was given the role as the provincial party organ in 1955. Also according to Baike, it has been, for seventeen years in a row, the paper with the highest cirulation among all provincial party papers, with 850,000 copies.

When compared with other papers of its kind – and arguably many commercial papers nationwide, too -, the Nanfang papers reflect the “Guangdong way” – a political approach which the Economist, in November last year, referred to as beguilingly open.

But obviously, even this relative editorial independence doesn’t go without saying. Caixin Media, as quoted by David Bandurski of China Media Project, broke news in early May this year that Yang Jian (杨健), an established propaganda cadre, had been appointed party secretary at the Nanfang Media Group. Papers as attractive as Nanfang Daily and its sisters apparently need to be harnessed for the higher good of cultural production, to defend [the public] against the West’s assault on the country’s culture and ideology. If the lively Nanfang family should die in the process (i. e. become more correct in its public opinion guidance), they will have become martyrs.

In China, soft power is not only about nation branding, but nation building as well. Through using soft power narratives, China is encouraging a domestic cultural revitalization attempting to win the hearts and minds of Chinese diaspora communities and promote national cohesion between dominant and minority groups in the country,

Imran Arshad suggested earlier this year. And as the Nanfang Group, from the CCP perspective, may need to do some long-neglected homework in this field anyway, its specially-appointed contributor Zhao Lingmin (赵灵敏) – specially appointed probably because he reportedly lost his official function at Nanfang Chuang, another Nanfang paper, in 2011 -, studied soft-power’s relationship with the Confucius Institutes, in an article published by Nanfang People Weekly on June 1.

Links within the following blockquotes were added during translation – JR
Main Link: Nanfang Renwu Zhoukan, June 1, 2012

Confucius Institutes and Soft Power

June 1, 2012

Soft Power’s “Softness” and Bounteousness, with Hard Sell Blossoming Everywhere, is Inopportune

The article first notes that while a U.S. State-Department notice concerning Confucius-Institute teaching staff’s visa had since been corrected, the controversy centering around the Confucius Institutes was far from over.

On November 21, 2004, China’s first overseas “Confucius Institute” put its store sign up in South Korea. By the end of August, 2011, 353 Confucius Institutes and 473 Confucius Classrooms had been established in various countries – a total of 826.  In America alone, there are 81 of them. To carry the work of the Confucius Institutes out even better, the Confucius Institutes headquarters were established in Beijing, in 2006. The “Confucius Institutes” are seen as embodiments of  China’s government to promote soft power globally.
2004年11月21日,中国第一所海外“孔子学院”在韩国挂牌。截至2011年8月底,各国已建立353所孔子学院和473个孔子课堂,共计826所。 仅美国就有81所孔子学院。为了更好地运作孔子学院,2006年,孔子学院总部在北京成立。“孔子学院”被视为中国政府向世界推广“软实力”的体现。

Currently, every sixth day will see the birth of a Confucius Institute somewhere on the globe. A German organization which is similar to the Confucius Institute, the Goethe Institute, founded in 1951, currently has 144 institutes, and adds only three more annually, on average. Spain’s Cervantes Institute was founded in 1991, and has only thirty institutes so far, adding only two annually, on average. According to official reports, the foundation of each Confucius Institute costs 500,000 US dollars, and each Confucius Classroom comes at 60,000 US dollars. Mr Xue Yong (薛涌) estimates that a Confucius Institute established in America costs at least several million US dollars. After the Confucius Institutes’ and Classrooms’ establishment, these also need to be operated. The [expected ? - 光] budget for Confucius Institutes reached 1.6 billion in 2008; a number which is likely to have risen since, year by year. According to domestic logic, it would seem as if the tasks of building this or that number of schools had been completed already, and that China’s values had already been transported. But that isn’t necessarily so.

According to the Hanban’s terminology, all Confucius Institutes were founded on foreign universities’ own requests. The procedure is that applications are written to Hanban, that China’s hanban would provide assistance and operation. Therefore, “Confucius Institute” deans are, without exception, foreigners. Most of them are foreign university Sinology faculty directors, or people of similar backgrounds. Isn’t it easy to see why, given their titles as “Confucius Institute deans”, they’d take up the mission of promoting the Chinese language, and spreading Chinese culture? What the director of Düsseldorf’s Confucius Institute, [Hahebao - this should be a German name - JR], says may be indicative: “At the current stage, China amounts to spreading money to the entire globe, and that’s why local universities cooperate with the Confucius Institutes – mainly to get these fundings. After taking the money, they themselves will operate language classes and lectures, etc. Most of them have no long-term educational plan, and nobody seems to be sure what the hanban’s actual goals are.”

A fundamental error lies in just the [Confucius-Institute] and other foreign propaganda activities which spare no expense, believing that China’s current image isn’t satisfactory because the degree of propaganda weren’t sufficient – that therefore, propaganda needed to be intensified, so that when power and influence are great, when the reports are many, and translated into several foreign languages, the image will be good.  This is a typically Chinese way of thinking, [but] in Western societies, where information is amply revealed, this won’t work. A country’s image includes three layers: what you say, how you say it, and the gap between what you say and what you do. An insufficient degree of propaganda is the second layer, and would be comparatively easy to correct. The bigger problem is the gap between words and deeds.

According to Joseph Nye, soft power is about inspiration and attractiveness, which means that you “subdue the enemy without fighting”. The “softness” and unsparing expenses of soft power, with Hard Sell Blossoming Everywhere, is Inopportune. America is the strongest country worldwide, in terms of soft power, its global cultural influence reaches everywhere. Many people want to go to America, no matter the cost, no matter the risks. But America has no propaganda department, no Culture Ministry, and certainly no organizations like the Confucius Institutes, to promote its culture and values, but relies on the attractiveness that comes from within American culture, which are automatically chosen by people.

Therefore, things aren’t as simple as to “increase propaganda” in order to increase soft power. What matters more is what is actually propagandized. Without original thought, and mere recitals of some doctrines, the effects will rather probably be counter-productive. Years ago, Margaret Thatcher frankly stated that “China won’t become a superpower, because it doesn’t have that doctrine that could promote China’s power, and weaken the spread of our Western doctrines. China only exports television sets, and no ideas“. This is probably China’s biggest obstacle in raising its soft power and its image.

To a certain degree, China’s citizens will shape its image. Governmental PR and remarks can’t replace citizens’ individual behavior, and won’t be able to shape the image of the individual. A person’s understanding of the outside world is inevitably overgeneralized, and general judgment will come from specific people and issues. Therefore, every individual’s interaction with the outside world participates in shaping our national image. When you come to a country and find fresh air, an intact environment, and amicable people, these perceptions will create a good impression of that country [in your mind]. It may take nine travel groups who leave a good impression, to correct the bad impression left by one travel group. In that sense, the fundamentals for improving an image abroad are within the country.



» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012


Monday, May 28, 2012

The London School of Economics…

… is reportedly going to publish “a new and comprehensive ethics code” in June.  In a submission of May 11, Christopher Hughes, an LSE professor, warned that the school must avoid retreating on its commitment to reform its ethical approach. The LSE’s acceptance of about £400,000 from the Communist regime showed it had failed to learn from the scandal after it accepted a pledge of £1.5m from Saif al-Islam Gadaffi, son of the late Libyan dictator. Gaddafi jr’s pledge had led to former LSE director Howard Davies‘ resignation.

At the time however, the Gaddafi clan had become an increasingly unlikely source for future funding.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Victoria Nuland: Let’s Put it That Way

Daily news briefing, State Department, May 24

QUESTION: On China, you must have heard the new State Department directive to the Confucius Institute in the U.S. Could you explain to us, what is the purpose of this new directive?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, let me say that, as you know, the U.S. greatly values its people-to-people exchange with China. This was one of the centerpieces of the Secretary’s participation in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. She had a separate people-to-people exchange with State Councilor Liu and they got a chance to meet some American students and some Chinese students, and it was a great event.

This is also not about the Confucius Institutes themselves. It is simply about whether the right visa status was applied in these cases. When you have a J-1 education visa, there are two categories. There are J-1 visas if you are in kindergarten through high school, and there is a different category of J-1 visas if you are at university.

And there was some muddling and messing up, so – in these cases – so we’re going to sort these out. Nobody’s going to have to leave the country. It’s all going to get cleared up. But there was some confusion on the front end, so we’re going to fix it.

QUESTION: But in the directive, it said on all the current affected exchange visitors, they have to leave before June 30 this year. Is that the case?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that we’re going to do our best to fix this without having anybody have to leave.

QUESTION: And finally –

MS. NULAND: That is my understanding.

QUESTION: — are you concerned about the Confucius Institute’s expansion in the U.S. as the –

MS. NULAND: Are we concerned about?

QUESTION: The Confucius Institute’s expansion in the U.S. as the strongest Chinese soft power?

MS. NULAND: No. This is something that we support. It’s part of the people-to-people understanding. We just want to make sure that the visa categories are correct.


QUESTION: Can you speak to the timing of why now? Was it – was that in conjunction to this problem being across all of the Confucius Institutes, the J-1 confusion?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to why this came up now. I think that we – as I understood it this morning, we became aware that this wasn’t just one case or two cases, that there was a – sort of a mess-up in the processing in general. So we need to fix that.

QUESTION: What was the mess-up?

QUESTION: Can you characterize the mess-up? Yeah.

MS. NULAND: That in fact, folks who are participating and teaching in programs that were K-12 were given university-style J-1s, and the other way around.


QUESTION: And whose problem with that?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to how the mess-up occurred, but we’re going to fix it.

QUESTION: Well, who issues the visas? I mean, it’s – the State Department issues visas, right?

MS. NULAND: Right. So whether there was some confusion on the front end with the sponsors as to which programs individual teachers were being brought for, or whether there was some changing after they arrived, I really can’t speak to that. But we’re going to clean it up so that everybody’s in the right visa category.

QUESTION: So you –

QUESTION: You don’t expect anyone to have to leave the country?

MS. NULAND: My understanding was we’re going to do our best to fix this so that nobody has to leave.

QUESTION: And just so we’re clear, you don’t think, then, that the mistake was on the State Department’s end? Do you think it’s possible that it was on the end of the people who applied or the intermediaries?

MS. NULAND: I just can’t speak to that, and I can’t speak to whether this was uniform in any way or whether there were various problems.

QUESTION: And you can’t speak to it because you don’t know –

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: — or because you know and you don’t want to say?

MS. NULAND: Because we have to investigate it and figure it out.


QUESTION: Can you talk about how many visas were impacted by the problem?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have that either.


QUESTION: May I ask you for what kind of meetings, when you say that you are working on this issue? I heard that some of the Confucius Institutions have come and had meetings with the assistant secretary already talking about this. So could you tell us more about what kind of works has been doing to avoid – make sure people don’t have to leave the country by the end of June?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. My understanding is that at the current moment, we’re trying to size the problem, we’re trying to figure out how many people are affected, and then we’re going to – and we’re in the process of reissuing instructions that are a little bit clearer and a little bit more easy to manage. Let’s put it that way.

QUESTION: Okay. And may I also say that we know that in the past couple of months, a few members in the Congress expressed their dissatisfaction and question about the operation of Confucius Institutes in the U.S. So I wonder, when you were doing this – before you released this direction about the J-1 visa, did you have any contact with those members in the Congress?

MS. NULAND: Well, I’m sure that, as we always do on all matters, we’re in dialogue with Congress. But this is a matter not about any of that; it’s a matter about whether people are in the right visa category for where they are teaching.



» State Department directive, May 24, 2012


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Confucius Institutes: Göttingen University, for Example

Tai De is (kind of) corresponding with German authorities, concerning Confucius Institutes in Lower Saxony. Either a guest post by Tai De, or an interview with him, is in the pipeline. Stay tuned.



» State Department Directive, May 24, 2012
» No Communists at Deutsche Welle, March 11, 2012


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Confucius Institute: State Department Directive “an Untimely End to Chinese Classes”

Main Link: Huanqiu Shibao, May 24, 2012, 03:29.

Translated off the reel, and posted right away. A link to the State-Department directive can be found under footnote 2. Links within blockquote added during translation.

A notice issued by U.S. State Department officials on May 17, to all Confucius Institutes in America, has caused great controversy. The new notice requires existing Confucius Institutes to apply for American “certification”, to become part of regular courses, and bans Chinese teachers and volunteers to teach in middle and elementary schools. A Hanban responsible, on May 23, expressed “shock” to a Huanqiu Shibao reporter, as no consultations had preceded this notice. Insiders told this reporter that to date, American officials hadn’t explained to whom the Confucius Institutes should turn for certification. U.S. “Higher Education News”1) wrote on May 21 that the notice would disrupt Confucius Institute teaching activities. “People don’t undersstand the State Department’s sudden notice. Actually, Confucius Institutes have been on American campuses for almost ten years.” An insider told the Global Times reporter on May 23 that currently, Confucius Institutes were highly successful and influential in America, that many Americans learned Chinese, and that America was somewhat worried about this. In addition, it was election year in America, and political consideration could be behind the measures taken.

The notice was reportedly issued by Robin Lerner, the State Department Deputy Secretary in charge of Educatonal and Cultural Matters and private-sector exchange. The notice says that while Confucius Institutes may be beneficial to promoting cultural exchange, its activities “need to be in accordance with the standards of exchange, and respect the relevant law and regulations”. “Professors, researchers, short-term visiting scholars or institutes, as well as students, were not allowed to teach in primary schools2). [...] The notice also says that “to ensure that the Confucius Institute education corresponds with and maintains suitable regulations and standards, the Institutes must apply for American certification”, “on initial examination, it isn’t clear if the Confucius Institutes will get American certification”. The State Department allows currently teaching Confucius Institute teachers with J-1 visa to continue teaching until the end of the school year in June, but won’t renew their visas. If they wish, they can return to China to apply for appropriate exchange project visas.
据悉,签发这一公告的是美国国务院负责教育和文化事务局私营部门交流的副助理秘书长罗宾•勒纳。公告称,尽管孔子学院可能有益于促进文化交流,但其所从事的活动“必须符合正确的交流规范,遵循相关法规”。“教授、研究学者、短期访问学者或学院、大学学生不允许在公立和私立小、中学教学,否则便与有关交流访问项目法规相违。 [.....] ”公告还称,“为确保孔子学院的教育符合和保持适合的规定标准,孔子学院必须申请美国认证”,“美国国务院的初步审视并不清楚这些孔子学院是否得到美国认证”。美国务院允许目前持有J-1签证的孔子学院教师继续留至2012年6月本学年结束,但不会为他们续签签证。如果他们愿意,可回中国再申办一种合适的交流项目签证。

There are Confucius Institutes at 81 American universities. The notice has caused wide-spread shock, confusion, and incomprehension. Confucius Institutes in all places said that the notice was “surprising” or “unusual”, and there were discussions everywhere as to how to deal [with the situation]. Huanqiu Shibao has learned that J-1 visas are a kind of non-immigration visas, issued to foreigners who participate in “exchange and visitor programs approved by the State Department”. An official survey concerning J-1 visa holders was carried out early this year.

A lady who had taught for Confucius Institutes in America told Huanqiu Shibao on May 23 that teachers sent by China to teach abroad were mainly government-sponsored, or volunteers. They all held visitor J-1 visas. She had been a volunteer, and a visa had been rather easy to obtain.

What people find most incomprehensible is that American officialdom requires Confucius Institutes to carry out so-called “certification”. Huanqiu Shibao has learned that to date, the State Department has not said where Confucius Institutes should turn for certification. By comparison, nothing has been heard of German Goethe Institutes, French Institutes or other cultural exchange bodies in America having received American certification. People in charge at the first Confucius Institutes established in the U.S., University of Maryland Confucius Institute and George Mason University Confucius Institute, express confusion, and say that the “certification” issue is currently being discussed. The person in charge at the George Mason University Confucius Institute hopes that the notification came without political considerations. After all, Obama’s initiative to have 100,000 students study in China was about encouraging American students to study Chinese.

According to explanations by a Hanban person in charge, made to Huanqiu Shibao, Hanban has sent a letter to university presidents, to carry out negotiations. The letter says that Confucius Institutes in America were established at American requests, and run in cooperation with Hanban and Chinese institutions of higher education. The Chinese side fully respected the esteemed universities’ powers to make their own decisions (自主权)3), and there had never been special instructions concerning the teaching and cultural-exchange activities carried out by the Institutes. The central office provided help, such as support in that it sent volunteers, as requested by the American side. The letter also says that the Chinese side respects American governmental law and regulations, but that in this process, we do not wish to see that volunteer projects get disrupted, as this would lead to many quickly-developing Chinese-language classes coming to an untimely end, resulting in losses for the schools and students.

The person in charge also said that before volunteers head for America, they get an invitation from the American schools, in accordance with the Sino-American school agreements, and apply for and obtain a visa. From 2005 on, China had developed Chinese language education to help America, and had sent more than 2,100 teachers. The project had always worked smoothly. It had been believed that once teachers received an American invitation, the application would lead to a visa, and that there would be no problems. No consultations had preceded the State Department’s May-17 notice, and this was felt to be very sudden and surprising by those in charge at the Confucius Institutes.

Many presidents [of universities with Confucius Institutes] were disgusted by the State Department notice, and had many objections, as they believed it interfered with their universities’ autonomy3). They currently contacted the State Department and negotiated. Huanqiu Shibao also learned that to address the doubts, a State-Department official was to be sent to Maryland University to have direct talks with people in charge at the university and the Confucius Institute.



1) This is my translation of 美国“高等教育新闻”网站 – the website’s real name may be different.

2) Quote:

Teaching positions in primary and secondary schools (K-12) are only authorized under the “Teacher” category set forth at 22 CFR 62.24. Teaching primary and secondary school students in public school systems or private schools is not permitted by professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or college/university students.

(Guidance Directive 2012-06 Exchange Visitor Program – Confucius Institutes)

3) 自主权, which may be translated either as the right to make decisions of one’s own, or autonomy. The term for provincial or territorial autonomy in China, for places like Tibet, would be 自治区 (autonomous regions), and is therefore not exactly the same term.



» Three Eight-Hundreds, April 19, 2009



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