Chinese fever and cool heads: Confucius institutes and China's national identities

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Confucius Institutes are one of the main channels for China's programme of "cultural going out", yet the debates in China around them have as much to do with culture and national identity at home, as they do with cultural influence abroad. This article analyses China's domestic media to consider how competing views Of national identity understand the Confucius Institutes and their role in the production of national identity. It shows that debates around "cultural going out" address desires to see China have greater cultural influence in the world.
For the state, the Confucius Institutes can tell "China's story" and re-adjust the global public's opinion about China more suited to an identity of great power. Foreign approval is then used to endorse identity claims based on language and culture. Yet, outside of state media, alternative voices from Chinese netizens question the Confucius Institute project when resources are needed for China's disadvantaged groups. This article discusses the topic of the Confucius Institutes in the context of Chinese national identity discourses at a time when China re-considers its role in the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalChina Media Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Confucius Institute
  • National identity
  • cultural diplomacy
  • cultural promotion
  • Hanban
  • Chinese media
  • Chinese neitizens
  • wenhua zouchu qu
  • cultural going out


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