Confucius Institutes

The debate.

An anecdotal moment from Jeffrey Wasserstrom:

Some time ago, I found out, but not until just before giving a talk, that the local CI was my visit’s sponsor. I was annoyed and tweaked my planned lecture to show it. In my new opening, I said that since a CI was sponsoring the event, a few words on Confucius were in order. I found it odd, I said, that China’s ruling party had excoriated Confucius when Mao Zedong headed the country, yet now named institutes in his honor. The official line on history was still that Mao was better than his anti-Communist rival Chiang Kai-shek, I continued, but the present veneration of Confucius as a national saint fit better with Chiang’s worldview than with Mao’s.

Was the Beijing-appointed head of the CI outraged? No, she wasn’t even miffed. She said she loved the talk and I’d be welcome to come back and speak again any time.

(An anecdote is only an anecdote, and might not be worth that much, but a casual presumption is worth less.)