Confucius Institute also has non-academic targets, based on scholars and journalists. The CI also has the goal of enhancing China's picture abroad and assuaging concerns of a "China threat" in the context of the country's increasingly strong economic climate and military.
Li Changchun, the 5th-highest-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee, was quoted in the Economist saying that the Confucius Institutes were “a crucial part of China’s abroad propaganda set-up”--a statement which has been seized upon by critics as proof of the politicized mission.
A lot of foreign scholars have characterized the CI plan as an exercise in soft power, expanding China's financial, cultural, and diplomatic reach via the way of the promotion of Chinese language and culture, while other folks have suggested a attainable function in intelligence collection.
The Economist notes that China "has been mindful not to encourage these language centers to act as overt purveyors of the party’s political viewpoints, and tiny suggests they can be performing so... but officials do say that a crucial aim is always to give the entire world a “correct” understanding of China."
The article notes that one site, supported by the Chinese government, lauded the efforts of unnamed Confucius Institutes in opposing Chinese dissident groups abroad, such as Tibetan independent activists, democracy groups as well as the Falun Gong.
In accordance with Peng Ming-min, a Taiwan independence activist and politician, colleges and universities where a Confucius Institute is established should signal a contract in which they declare their support for Beijing “one China” policy. Consequently, each Taiwan and Tibet grow to be taboos with the institutes, he claims. This announcement is in dispute, however, Michael Nylan, professor of Chinese history at the California University at Berkeley, says that CIs have grown to be much less heavy-handed in their demands, and have realized from "early missteps," such as insisting that universities adopt a policy that Taiwan is element of China. Nylan took an informal survey of faculty and administrators at fifteen universities with Confucius Institutes; "two respondents reported that institutes had exerted strain to hinder guest speakers," but both events went ahead anyway.
Chinese analysts have viewed Confucius Institutes as a part of a bigger "soft power initiative" promoted by Hu Jintao, aimed at increasing China's influence overseas by means of cultural and language programs. An article published from the American Council of Foreign Relations has written that "Beijing is trying to persuade the world of its peaceful intentions, secure the resources it needs to carry on its soaring economic development, and isolate Taiwan." This is witnessed as an attempt by the PRC to modernize away from Soviet influenced propaganda of the Maoist era. Other initiatives consist of Chinese modern art exhibitions, television packages, concerts by common singers, translations of Chinese literature, and also the growth of state-run news channels such as Xinhua News Agency and China Central TV.