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Hanban (Chinese: 汉办) is the colloquial abbreviation for the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.[1]


It is governed by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Zhongguo Guojia Hanyu Guoji Tuiguang Lingdao Xiaozu Bangongshi, Chinese: 中国国家汉语国际推广领导小组办公室),[2] a non-government and non-profit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.[3]

Confucius Institute[edit]

Hanban is most notable for the Confucius Institute program,[4] but it also sponsors the Chinese Bridge competition, which is a competition in Chinese proficiency for non-native speakers. The current President of the Council is State Councilor Chen Zhili (陈至立). On April 2007 while inspecting Hanban, Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo in charge of ideology and propaganda stated that: "the construction of Confucius Institutes is an important channel to glorify Chinese culture, to help Chinese culture spread to the world...(which is) part of China's foreign propaganda strategy""[1]

According to the mission statement: "Hanban is committed to developing Chinese language and culture teaching resources and making its services available worldwide, meeting the demands of overseas Chinese learners to the utmost degree, and to contributing to global cultural diversity and harmony."[5] Generally, the Council is charged with cultivating knowledge and interest in the Chinese language and culture in nations around the world that are not native speakers of Chinese.

The following twelve state ministries and commissions are represented in the Chinese Language Council International:[2][3]

  • General Office of the State Council
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • State Development and Reform Commission
  • Ministry of Commerce
  • Ministry of Culture
  • State Administration of Radio Film and Television (China Radio International)
  • State Press and Publications Administration
  • State Council Information Office and the State Language Committee

Critics point to the potential for corruption and conflict of interest within the Hanban, which is supposedly a non-profit organization but operates CI-related companies for profit. "For instance, in November 2009, Hanban launched a new company, which won the bid for over five million U.S. dollars from the Ministry of Finance to operate the CI’s website; the person in charge of this company is also the deputy director of Hanban."[6]

The CIs are also criticized for their hiring practices. It was revealed that CI teachers are forbidden to have any in class discussion on or any involvement with topics sensitive to the Chinese regime, such as the Uyghurs, Tibet, Falun Gong, democracy advocates, etc. Canada's McMaster University terminated it's contract with it's CI after Sonia Zhao, former teacher at the University's CI, quit her job, and subsequently appealed to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for the university's “giving legitimization to discrimination.” Under her job contract with the CI Ms. Zhao was forced to hide her belief in Falun Gong, a spiritual movement persecuted by the Communist party of China. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Will Wachter. "The language of Chinese soft power in the US". 
  2. ^ a b "About Hanban". The Office of Chinese Language Council International – North America Office. 
  3. ^ a b "The Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban)". University of Sydney. 19 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Don Starr (2009). [Chinese Language Education in Europe: the Confucius Institutes "Chinese Language Education in Europe: the Confucius Institutes"]. European Journal of Education. pp. 65–82.  Unknown parameter |other= ignored (|others= suggested) (help)
  5. ^ http://english.hanban.edu.cn/hbsm.php
  6. ^ Ren Zhe (2010), Confucius Institutes: China's Soft Power?, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, June 2010.
  7. ^ [1]

External links[edit]