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China to have 500 Confucius institutes next year

China aims to build 500 Confucius Institutes and 1,000 Confucius classrooms by 2015 to promote Mandarin and Chinese culture, officials said in a conference in Shanghai today.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Confucius Institute since the project was launched by the national Hanban, or Confucius Headquarters. There are a total of 445 Confucius Institutes and 680 classrooms in 122 countries, with over 2 million learners in the past decade.

"Confucius Institutes has greatly promoted foreigners to learn Chinese and Chinese culture," said Hu Zhiping, deputy director of Hanban.

Hu said there's no question that China can achieve the goal of building 500 Confucius Institutes next year, but there are also many problems such as lack of professional teachers.

Hu said the government will focus on encouraging social organizations and Chinese companies to invest in building Confucius Institutes and to step up to send more teachers abroad.


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