The following excerpts are from a Confucius Institute article published in the May 5, 2008, edition of Outlook Weekly Magazine.  It describes the global strategy for promoting Chinese is made evident. The director of the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOTCFL), Xu Lin, expresssed the belief that the global promotion of Chinese culture is a national strategy that should join the various ministries of the government and even the entire society. Only when the country organizes its resources and forces can it be a truly great enterprise. She emphasized that the pressing matter now is to upgrade China’s ability to export Chinese culture. 
The “Soft Promotion” of Chinese Culture
The process promoting a culture is also the process of exchange, confrontation, the mingling of different cultures, and the process of expanding cooperation.
Three years ago, the Minister of Education, Zhou Ji, named Xu Lin as the director of NOTCFL. Xu Lin declined vigorously, saying that the post was ill-suited for her, and that her previous work “had nothing to do at all with the promotion of Chinese abroad.”
With an A B.S. in chemistry and as an economics student in graduate school, Xu Lin had been a college instructor, an administrative cadre, a mayor’s assistant, and had worked on the Ministry of Education’s planning and budgeting. [She] later served for five years as an education counselor in a Chinese Embassy abroad. “You must go! [You] must do this well!” The minister’s words were resolute, so she agreed to [her] superior’s arrangement.
When she first took up the post, the first Confucius Institute just opened up in Seoul, Korea. By the beginning of 2008, over 210 Confucius Institutes have been established in succession in more than sixty countries. At this time, only three years had past since the five-year goal of opening up 100 Confucius Institutes worldwide had been set. The Confucius Institute has already become a fundamental ingredient to enable the various countries to learn Chinese and Chinese culture, a major platform to understand modern China, and even an important component of China’s “big diplomacy” and “big propaganda abroad.”
Join the Forces of the Entire Society to Promote Chinese Culture
NOTCFL was established in 1987. [It] is a daily affairs organization of China’s teaching Chinese abroad leadership group organized by the leaders of 11 ministries under the State Council. Its function is to coordinate the various ministries and committees to promote Chinese [abroad] as a national and ethnical enterprise, going abroad in a “smooth, fine, and silent” fashion. The Confucius Institute headquarters established thereafter and China’s NOTCFL are one group of people wearing two different hats.
According to Xu Lin, as a brand new platform, the Confucius Institute is playing a new, important role in the aspect of cultural exchange abroad. For example, the Ministry of Culture’s Paris Culture Center [and] Egypt’s Culture Center had cooperated with the Confucius Institute. The NOTCFL has dispatched Chinese teachers, [and] these centers had started to recruit Chinese language students. The result is gradually showing. As another example, China International Radio’s broadcast abroad has 43 languages. The trend of shrinking audiences appeared in more than a few language [broadcasts]. In recent years, broadcasting Chinese culture and Chinese language instruction at set times not only kept a large group of old listeners, but also attracted an increasing number of new listeners.
The Confucius Institute is not only an important avenue of foreign cultural exchange to China, but it also expanded the stage of China’s diplomacy. Statistics from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs show that cumulatively, there have been close to one hundred ambassadors and consul generals who have participated in the Confucius Institute’s activities one or more times. Because Confucius Institutes are all [established] in post-secondary institutions, and post-secondary institutions are important sources of thinking in society, [it] is very advantageous to promote understanding and mutual communication. Many consulate officials abroad all believe that the Confucius Institute is a very good foreign diplomacy platform. In some countries, prime ministers and state legislators have all supported and even personally attended Confucius Institutes’ Chinese language promotion activities.
The Chinese language as a powerful carrier of culture—[we] should use the opportunity of global Chinese fever to change this situation. Xu Lin believes, “The global spread of Chinese culture is a great enterprise, is a national strategy, [and] should be joined by the government and even the entire society. Only by taking advantage of the socialist policy, focusing energy to do big things, having the country organize all resources and strengths, can [we] truly hold up this great enterprise.”
Projecting Chinese Culture’s Charm
By and large, China’s foreign Chinese language education has undergone two stages: From the 1950s to the 1980s, teaching the Chinese language abroad was considered as an important part of foreign affairs, therefore, foreign exchange students basically came from socialist countries or third-world countries. Since the 1980s, accompanying China’s reforms, opening up, and economic take-off, China’s economic trade with various countries of the world became ever more and ever closer, [and] learning Chinese gradually became popular. Especially starting from the end of the 1990s, global “Chinese fever” has been on the rise. The scale and scope of Chinese language education abroad increased unceasingly. There have been profound changes from content to form.
Xu Lin believes that the main differences between teaching Chinese language abroad and the global spread of Chinese then and now are manifested in at least the following aspects:
1. Content-wise, global spread of the Chinese language is not only pure language teaching, there is also a responsibility of spreading of Chinese culture. … In the process of learning a language, [one] is actually learning a culture, [therefore] teaching language is also spreading culture. In the past, teaching Chinese abroad overemphasized language drills, especially pronunciation drills. … Many foreign youngsters have an interest in Chinese marshal arts. When [they] come to China for summer camp, [they] would first choose to go to the Shaolin Temple in Henan [Province]. 
2. In terms of pedagogy, some people in the past taught students in a perfectionist mode. … Reality proved the “perfectionist mode” to be unworkable. First teaching foreigners the way Chinese people are taught proved to be ineffective. Secondly, there has been too small of a number of “perfectionists,” [which] mismatches China’s major power image as well as the urgent need to upgrade soft strength. Therefore, to promote Chinese abroad, popularization and applicability should come first, [thus] having people intimately want to know Chinese.
3. [I]n the beginning the primary purpose of teaching Chinese abroad was to break through barriers, and the main object of spread was the third world. Later, stressing economic utility, many people learned Chinese out of their career considerations. But to depend on the international spread of Chinese solely on language utility is obviously lacking. Therefore, the purpose of establishing the Confucius Institute is to upgrade official cultural exchange, folk cultural interactions, teacher investment and training, application of new culture, etc. to a regulated modernized level, so as to make Chinese a charismatic international language, and then fundamentally change the “soft influence” of Chinese culture against the backdrop of globalization.
Using the Vision of Globalization to Forge Strength
Xu Lin believes that either through non-governmental or governmental paths, [in order to spread Chinese internationally] it’s necessary to liberate one’s thoughts, develop and create, and forge the strength of exporting Chinese culture. In fact, Confucius Institute’s headquarters … has been stepping into the direction of globalization. There have already been ten foreigners sitting on the board of directors of the Confucius Institute, most of whom are chancellors from the world’s top 200 universities, such as Scotland’s Edinburgh University and Japanese’s Waseda University.
Xu Lin disclosed that in order to strengthen the guidance and service to each country’s Confucius Institute, headquarters has decided to establish several special committees. For instance: Teaching Guidance Committee, Cultural and Economic Development Committee, Financial Supervisory and Guidance Committee, Quality Appraisal Committee, Legal Consultation Committee, and so on. These committees are responsible to submit appraisals, opinions, and suggestions regarding teaching qualities to the headquarters, which include teachers’ training [and] teaching material development. These committees comprise both Chinese and foreign parties. Xu Lin said that these measures are all based on long-term development considerations.
It appears to Xu Lin that the greatest questions currently are firstly that the so-called “soft strength” is difficult to quantify. Either the Confucius Institute or cultural export—what are the contributions to China’s “hard strength?” What’s the relationship between “soft strength” and “hard strength?” Due to lack of statistics, formulas, and models, it’s not easy to answer this question. Secondly, the capability to export a team to spread Chinese globally must be further upgraded. Originally, it is required that Chinese language teachers must have had studied overseas or have had work experience, but now it seems that it still can’t fully satisfy foreign requirements. Many people only studied abroad to obtain a diploma and didn’t enter the mainstream society. Maladjustment is unavoidable now that [they] suddenly appear as a host teacher. Especially lacking are [in the area of] public relations and market development.
Xu Lin proposed that in the long run, a special troop be established to spread Chinese globally. This troop is a “folk ambassador troop.” “The process of promoting culture is also the process of exchange, struggle, and blending of different cultures, and the process of expanding cooperation. The most pressing thing to spread Chinese globally is to learn and upgrade the ability of exportation,” said Xu Lin.
 Outlook Weekly, May 5, 2008
Outlook Weekly is a Xinhua publication.
 In the Outlook Weekly excerpts, “Chinese culture” or “culture” refers to the current Chinese culture as opposed to genuine, traditional culture. Such is a result of former culture destruction and later culture re-reaction and its product has been taught throughout China and in Tibet.
 While China has a rich history and culture, since 1949, various aspects of traditional culture have undergone a transformation process that generally followed the outline of criticism, denunciation, ban and destruction, replacement, and exploitation. Traditional martial arts, for instance, sprung from Taoist and Buddhist origins and carry such traditional Chinese cultural values as character cultivation, health maintenance, violence curbing, and justice promotion. After 1949, traditional martial arts has been replaced with modernized martial arts, which kept the dazzling forms but became devoid of traditional culture content. Other aspects of Chinese culture have been similarly transformed.