The opening of a Confucius Institute in Washington DC, Nov. 20. (Photo/CNS)
China has established 440 Confucius institutes in 120 countries and regions amid efforts to promote the Chinese language and culture around the world, according to the Confucius Institute Headquarters.
Confucius institutes, named after the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, serve as non-profit public institutions to help foreigners better understand China through language teaching and culture introduction in universities overseas.
There are also 646 Confucius Classrooms operational at middle and primary schools, according to the headquarters.
About 850,000 students have registered in these institutions and more than 20,000 cultural activities have been held since the first institute was established in 2004.
With the influence of these institutions, the world is seeing renewed enthusiasm for the Chinese language. Seven countries including Britain, Sweden and Ireland issued government orders to include Chinese teaching into the national education program in 2012, bringing the figure of such countries to more than 40.