The Confucius Institutes
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China’s ambition for power reaches far. “Make the foreign serve China” is one of the principles of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, the powerful agency that coordinates China’s efforts to build power overseas. That aspiration has, alarmingly, too often come true.
It shows in the “One Belt One Road Initiative,” by which China offers generous loans and infrastructure funding to other governments, creating dependency and building strategic nodes of power overseas.1
Consider Sri Lanka, which China pressured into accepting a massive loan for a port. In 2017, when Sri Lanka couldn’t pay, China seized the port, a valuable outpost for China’s navy.2
Ambition shows too in the South China Sea, where China is building artificial islands with the potential for hosting military defenses and claiming international waters for itself.
And it shows in higher education, where China sees opportunities to seize research and development, cultivate relationships with culturally...