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Durham University

Chinese Studies

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Publication details for Mr Don Starr

2009 'Chinese Language Education in Europe: The Confucius Institutes', European Journal of Education 44, pp. 65-82

Author(s) from Durham


This article explores the background to the Chinese government's decision to embark on a programme of promoting the study of Chinese language and culture overseas. This includes the impact of Joseph Nye's concept of ‘soft power’ in China, ownership of the national language, the Confucius connection, and how these factors interact with political legitimacy. It also considers the development of the Confucius Institute programme in Europe. Europe has the greatest number of Confucius Institutes of any region: what should be read into this? What impact are these institutes having on the development of Chinese language education in Europe at different levels of the educational system? The paper provides some data on recent developments, outlines some of the obstacles to further progress and assesses the chances of Chinese becoming a global language.