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