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Irish Government Funds China’s Communist Propaganda Through Confucius Institutes

Posted by Author on October 2, 2010

Li Changchun‘s visit to Ireland this week involved a first for the Chinese Communist Party: The Chinese delegation, led by Li Changchun (the Chinese regimes’ head of propaganda), managed to win funding from the Irish government toward a new building for the Confucius Institute in UCD, which the Chinese government will also partly fund.

The amount of funding is not disclosed. A special report in the international newspaper The Economist, published in 2009, which was investigating these institutes stated, “Mao vilified Confucius as a symbol of the backward conservatism of pre-communist China. Now the philosopher, who lived in the 6th century BC, has been recast as a promoter of peace and harmony: just the way President Hu Jintao wants to be seen. Li Changchun, a party boss, described the Confucius Institutes as ‘an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up’.”

The article continued, “China’s partial financial backing, its hands-off approach to management and the huge unmet demand in many countries for Chinese-language tuition have helped Confucius Institutes embed themselves in universities that might have been suspicious.” The development in Ireland, namely that the Irish government is willing to pay for or subsidise China’s propaganda machine during a recession, is sadly an even greater coup for China’s Communist regime and its PR efforts in Ireland.

Confucius Institutes

In 2004, the Chinese Communist leadership decided that they would make a coordinated effort to set up classrooms and institutes around the world to teach Chinese in the simplified form, along with the Party’s version of Chinese culture, under the name of Confucius.

Twelve Chinese state departments and committees have participated in the formation of Confucius Institute Headquarters, which is also called the Chinese Languages Council International. It is led by a member of the Politburo, initially Ms Chen Zhili, and now Ms Liu Yandong; both are known protégés of top CCP leaders. In 2004, Ms Chen had a civil suit filed against her in a Tanzanian court; it accused her of torture and extrajudicial killing while carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong, which she did during her time as education minister.

Whenever a Confucius Institute opens you will find President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, or some other top leader of the CCP attending the event. Their attendance shows how important this project is to the leadership.

In five years, the project has expanded rapidly. As of October 2009, a total of 523 Confucius Institutes (CIs) and Confucius Classrooms had been established in 87 countries and regions around the world.

Greater diplomacy and greater international propaganda

Power is what is behind the CCP’s turn to Confucius. In the last 20 years, the CCP has been looking to expand its influence by developing so-called “soft power”, in addition to its economic and military build up. The CCP has been looking for every opportunity to implement its so-called “da wei jiao” and “da wei xun”—“greater diplomacy” and “greater international propaganda.”

The essence of greater diplomacy is to unite everyone in the world such that they more readily accomodate the CCP’s strategic goals. This tactic is also called establishing the most extensive “tong yi zhan xian”—“the united front”—one of the three treasures that has brought the CCP to, and kept it in, power.

The essence of the great international propaganda effort is to influence public opinion and governments’ judgments regarding relationships with the CCP. In particular, the increased international propaganda seeks to convince people that Communist China is a benign partner rather than a hidden threat.

According to Li Changchun, one of the nine standing members of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and the CCPs’ propaganda chief, Confucius Institutes serve both purposes well.

The Confucius Institutes have become a place where Chinese diplomats frequently interact with the students, faculty, and government officials of the host countries. The Institutes can send out qualified teachers to the host countries who advocate for the CCP, while providing information and consultation on China to the host country.

Of course, according to the regulations of the Confucius Institutes’ headquarters, the institutes will only teach the CCP-approved version of Chinese language and culture. In addition, the institutes have to abide not only by the laws and regulations of the host country, but also by the laws and regulations of China. This means that China is expanding its governance onto foreign soil. No wonder the CCP has pushed the institutes anywhere it can, using large sums of money and its’ web of connections.

However, using Confucius’ name to promote propaganda from a Communist regime would seem to be against the teachings of Confucius. He once said: “Without truth, I know not how man can live. A cart without wheels, a carriage without a harness, how could they be moved?”

The Epoch Times

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