News / Asia

Chinese Confucius Institute Project Raises Concern in Vietnam

Schoolgirls wave Vietnamese and Chinese flags before a welcoming ceremony for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Oct. 13, 2013.
Schoolgirls wave Vietnamese and Chinese flags before a welcoming ceremony for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Oct. 13, 2013.
A plan to establish an organization that promotes Chinese languages and culture in Vietnam has drawn criticism from Vietnamese scholars, who say Beijing is trying to invade the country with its ideology.

The agreement to set up a Confucius Institute in Hanoi was reached during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Vietnam this month. The plan has sparked heated debate, however, on social networks in Vietnam.

Dr. Nguyen Nha, an expert on the Chinese-Vietnamese relationship, told VOA's Vietnamese Service that Beijing wants to exert its soft power through cultural influences. “During the cultural revolution, China knocked down Confucianism, and now wants to resurrect it to influence neighboring countries and those it targets. The move does not benefit Vietnam,” he said.

Nha said China has succeeded in enhancing its power in Vietnam in terms of economics as Vietnamese markets are filled with Chinese products and Vietnam has huge trade deficits with its much larger neighbor.

Paulo Thanh Nguyen, who owns a shop that boycotts Chinese goods, said the Confucius Institute is a tool for China to show its hegemony. He added that China has long spread its culture to Vietnam through movies and dramas that dominate Vietnamese TV screens.

“China aims to be hegemonic in culture. It promotes its cultural values through the hidden messages in those entertainment products,” said Nguyen.

The Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing refused to comment for this story when contacted by VOA.

More than 400 Confucius Institutes are reported to be present at universities around the world.

As pointed out by an editorial in the official China Daily newspaper, which defended the mission of the Confucius Institute, many countries have organizations dedicated to promoting their language and culture abroad. The editorial says one such entity is France's Alliance Francaise, which has been running French language and cultural centers around the world since 1883.

But the Vietnamese protests follow decades of tensions between the two neighbors. Vietnam and China engaged in a short, but bloody, border war in the 1970s, and the two countries continue to have territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Lone from: San Diego
November 03, 2013 11:35 AM
Any chinese intentions to assimilate the Vietnamese people will fail again and again because the chinese do not understand and underetimate the will of the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese blood is thicker than the chinese.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More