By Tiger Zhang
Only 35 years ago, Confucius was widely condemned in China’s public rhetoric as a representative of the “corrupt segments of traditional culture” and a reactionary speaker of the hierarchical society that prevailed in China for at least 2 500 years. Not anymore. Today, he’s begun to serve singly as the “cultural diplomat” for China with such new titles as “the great mentor,” “representative of China’s traditional culture” and “advocate of a common faith and social order.” As part of China’s public diplomacy efforts, over 300 Confucius Institutes have been established in more than 80 countries so far. The number is expected to reach 500 by the end of next year and finally around 1 000 in all major cities around the world.