Confucius Institute

In a reversal from the rhetoric used throughout most of the 20th century, the Chinese government is now actively promoting Confucianism as a cultural treasure, a means to better society and maintain social harmony. One result of this new political endorsement has been the creation of the Confucius Institute in 2004. Headquartered in Beijing, the organization’s goal is to setup partnering Confucius Institutes throughout the world to promote and teach Chinese language and culture. In just seven years, 256 Confucius Institutes have been established worldwide, 60 within the United States. Whereas East Asians of the 20th century tended to view Confucianism as an embarrassment, it appears the 21st century is seeing the rise of a new outlook that the Confucian tradition is a heritage to be proud of that could provide insight into solving modern problems. However, the institutes have come under some criticisms for possibly being too heavily directed by the Chinese Communist Party.