In the last few years, China has opened hundreds of Chinese language and culture institutes around the world. They’re called Confucius Institutes and dozens are in the United States, where they’ve helped to set up Chinese language and culture teaching programs, from elite universities to urban K-12 school districts. Are Confucius Institutes a way to build bridges of understanding between the two countries? Or are they examples of China flexing its “soft power” abroad and trying to portray itself in the most positive light? KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez explores the issue.