2020 Student Research Conference:
33rd Annual Student Research Conference

Is China Becoming More Charming?: Confucius Institutes and Public Perceptions Abroad

Deanna K. Schmidt
Dr. Michael Rudy and Dr. Bridget Thomas, Faculty Mentors

Soft power, or influencing other nations through cultural means, has been a focal point of world leaders in recent decades. The Chinese government has dramatically increased soft power allocations to improve international perceptions of China since the early 2000s as part of its “charm offensive.” Perhaps the most visible of these initiatives are Confucius Institutes (CIs), or partnerships between a Chinese government-sponsored organization with foreign universities to develop Chinese educational programs abroad. Several studies done by Li, Paradise, and Xie following CIs’ initial establishment in 2004 evaluated CIs’ effectiveness in improving public perceptions of China, but many were completed too close to the program’s inception to evaluate sufficient data, effects over time, or the differing proportions of CIs to population in each country. This study examines the effects CIs per capita have had on foreign countries’ public perceptions of China, evaluating such findings through an interdisciplinary perspective. 

Keywords: China, Soft power, Confucius Institutes, Public diplomacy, Chinese language, Chinese culture, Charm offensive, U.S.-China Relations

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary Studies
Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: TBA
Location: TBA
Time: TBA

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