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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CSIS say: Confucius part of Chinese bid to win over western hearts

Besides teaching mandarin, the communist schools will serve a couple of shady purposes - to fool the world by turning on the charm is number one - spreading communist values and espionage. To think otherwise is to believe in the tooth fairy. Look here and here for more.

OTTAWA (CP) May 28, 2007- Canada's spy service believes China has enlisted Confucius, the master of enduring wisdom, in its drive for global dominance.

A newly declassified intelligence report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service says Beijing is out to win the world's hearts and minds, not just its economic markets, as a means of cementing power.

The secret CSIS brief, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, points to the creation of more than 100 Confucius Institutes around the world, including one at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver.

The Confucius Institutes, the brainchild of Beijing's Ministry of Education, primarily promote Chinese language and culture.

"In other words, China wants the world to have positive feelings towards China and things Chinese," the CSIS report says.

"For China to achieve its goals, people must admire China to some degree."

CSIS director Jim Judd recently acknowledged the agency devotes considerable effort to keeping an eye on monitoring Chinese operatives.

China denies allegations it schemes to pilfer Canadian military and industrial technology.

The CSIS report, portions of which were blacked out, paints the spread of Confucius Institutes as a calculated use of the discipline known as "soft power."

"While academics debate the relative importance of hard power - tanks, missiles, guns and the like - versus soft power, the People's Republic of China (PRC) government views the soft power concept as useful," the February intelligence report says. "PRC officials refer to China's quest for soft power in the official media."

The spy service notes analogies have been drawn between the Confucius Institutes and the German Goethe Institutes, the Spanish Cervantes Institutes and the French Alliance Francaise.

Since the opening of Canada's first Confucius Institute in Vancouver last year, agreements have been struck to create institutes in Waterloo, Ont., Montreal and Moncton, N.B.

The website of the Confucius Institute at the B.C. Institute of Technology says it aims to provide "market-driven programs and services that will serve the needs of the local community and promote culture and business ties for economic developments between China and Canada."

Allison Markin, a spokeswoman for the Institute of Technology, said the school was unaware of CSIS's interest.

"We're an educational institute, so it's not something we look at in a political vein, or any sort of security vein," she said Monday. "What we're doing really is delivering education for people."

Robin Yates, a professor of East Asian studies at Montreal's McGill University, said China is trying to play catch up with Taiwan, Korea and Japan, which have been more aggressive about forging cultural ties with the West.

"China, with its burgeoning economy, has failed rather miserably in its efforts at projecting its interests."

Zhai Jianjun, first secretary for education at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, stressed that the priority of the Confucius Institutes is to bring the Chinese language and culture to different corners of the world.

Modern China has begun to penetrate the Canadian consciousness, CSIS notes.

"Evidence of the increasing appeal of Chinese culture in Western society is all around us," the intelligence report says

The growing popularity of Chinese films, the emergence of NBA star Yao Ming, Chinese manned space flights and the coming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing "all suggest at least a modest rise in Chinese soft power."

CSIS says once the Beijing Olympics are over, the Confucius Institutes will "take a more prominent place in China's efforts to increase its standing in the world."


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