There has been a lot of talk recently about Beijing’s “soft power”, one initiative of which is the many Confucius Institutes (272 in total) around the world. Some people in Hacienda Heights, a pretty darn Asian neighborhood to begin with – don’t take too kindly to them teaching Chinese to their children. To this phenomenon, Daily Show correspondent Aadif Mandvi was there to talk about it.
Here is a funny and absurd video about people there’s attitude towards the teaching of Chinese there. Here is the link:
The reality is that the people opposed China brainwashing scheme are not just someone like the old lady in the video, but also including those most prominent protesters of PRC influence on the educational sphere used to be part of the Red Army.
I am not saying that Kai Chen the old lady in the video aren’t extremely paranoid, but considering the very filtered view of the world people get in China which due to the Chinese government’s heavy hand on information, it is not strange to wonder if the Chinese lessons from Confucius Institutes may be washed out too.
However, on the other hand, as the nature of language, culture is an important part of it which can never be separated. As a tool of government’s soft power, those Confucius Institutes are used to spread Chinese culture for sure; however, saying that teaching Chinese language equals spreading Communist concept may be not appropriate. In the first place, Chinese culture is not Communism; the former has existed for thousands of years while the latter was a product after the WWI.
Secondly, people have their own choice to learn Chinese or not; demand always comes before supply. In other words, people choose to learn language based on their needs and interest. They choose to accept and expose themselves under the influence.
In my point of view, Chinese is just like other thousands of languages in the world. It is a little bit of paranoid to think that people are using language as a tool to get to some political aims.