A new institute dedicated to spreading Chinese language and culture across Washington state was officially launched Monday, a partnership of Seattle Public Schools, the University of Washington and Hanban, a Chinese nonprofit group affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education.
Called the Confucius Institute, it will join about 250 similar organizations across the globe, one of a number of Hanban’s efforts to capitalize on the growing international interest in China.
Its efforts have been met with suspicion in some communities, most recently in suburban Los Angeles, where some parents expressed concern that a Hanban program might promote the Chinese government’s political views.
Washington officials don’t share those worries.
“We see nothing but upsides to teaching the languages and cultures of the world,” said Stephen Hanson, the UW’s vice provost of global affairs.