China’s Wang Proposes Setting Up Confucius Institutes In India

Headline : China’s Wang Proposes Setting Up Confucius Institutes In India

Details :

The News

On the sidelines of the significant 1st meeting of the newly constituted India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges, China has proposed to develop more Confucius Institutes in India as part of ‘brand projects’.

Background: The Wuhan Summit

  • Indo-China relations entered a reconciliatory phase post-Doklam standoff in the ‘Wuhan Summit’ an informal meeting held between PM Modi and Xi Jinping in April 2018.
  • In the aftermath of ‘Wuhan Summit’, India and China have decided to increase cooperation on various fronts including
    • a decision to strengthen communication between the two Armies to avoid Doklam-like confrontation.
    • to balance the burgeoning trade deficit (about $52 billion) by encouraging agricultural and pharmaceutical exports from India.
    • a joint project in Afghanistan.
    • dialogue to discuss unresolved issues and “irritants” in the relationship like China’s blocking India’s NSG membership bid and India’s opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative etc.
  • Further, in accordance with the ‘Wuhan Spirit’, the two countries decided to establish the 1st ever India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges.

India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges

  • The mechanism aims to build greater synergies in the people-to-people ties between the two countries through enhanced exchanges in areas such as tourism, art, films, media, culture, sports and academic and youth exchanges.
  • Accordingly all the existing bilateral cultural and people-to-people engagements between India and China is put under one umbrella.
  • The 1st meeting of the High Level Mechanism is a step in the direction of better cooperation in bilateral relations between the two countries.

Highlights of the Meeting

  • India and China have agreed to develop ‘brand projects’ for improving people-to-people interaction.
  • China has proposed to establish more ‘Confucius Institutes’ in India as a part of ‘’brand projects’.
  • Further India and China have identified 10 pillars for people-people interaction.
  • These include
  • cultural exchange
  • cooperation in films and television
  • cooperation in museum administration
  • cooperation sports
  • exchanges between youths
  • cooperation on tourism
  • exchanges between states and cities
  • cooperation in traditional medicine
  • cooperation in yoga
  • cooperation in education

About Confucius Institutes

  • Confucius Institutes are the instruments of ‘soft power’ of China.
  • Currently there are more than 500 Confucius Institutes established in 142 including over 150 Confucius Institutes in 51 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The Confucius Institute is a non-profit public institution which aims to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries.
  • World over Confucius institutes are run by ‘Hanban’, a Beijing-based organization affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education.
  • India also has India Confucius Institutes established in Mumbai University and VIT University in Vellore (Tamil Nadu).

Criticism

  • Since the faculty is sent by ‘hanban’, they may be subject to outside influence.
  • It is alleged that in USA their courses are biased.
  • They ignore important events in China’s history involving human rights abuse and authoritarianism like the Tiananmen Square massacre is ignored
  • Taiwan and Tibet are portrayed as undisputed territories
  • Persecution of Uighurs and Falun Gong is not mentioned
  • The American Association of University Professors has criticized these institutes as “functioning as an arm of the Chinese state”.
  • Further the FBI has called them as “collectors” to infiltrate US universities and gather intelligence on behalf of the Chinese government.
Section : Miscellaneous

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