The Chinese Communist Party has been promoting the “Lu Ban Workshop (鲁班工坊)” in countries along the path of its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
Launched by the Tianjin Municipal Government, the Lu Ban Workshops are named after Lu Ban, a famous Chinese craftsman. They provide vocational education, from mechatronics to applied electronics, and from automation to robotics, to residents of hosting countries, with a focus on local needs.
Xi Jinping has personally promoted the Lu Ban Workshop on several occasions, including at his meetings with presidents from the target countries.
The first workshop was established in Thailand in 2016. There are now 25 Lu Ban Workshops in 19 countries, including Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Portugal, and in Central Asian countries.
The Lu Ban Workshop has essentially the same export model as the Confucius Institute: Chinese vocational and technical schools seek local partners in targeted countries and offer courses in those local schools to teach skills related to Chinese standards.
There has been growing concern over the Confucius Institutes as they promote the CCP ideology and impose CCP policy at the local partner school. In the past few years, there has been a wave of interest in closing Confucius Institutes and 104 of the 118 Confucius Institutes at U.S. universities have been closed.
Source: VOA, November 6, 2022