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China to hold Confucius Institute conference
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China is to hold the 4th Confucius Institute Conference in mid December in Beijing with delegates from 87 countries and regions, according to the Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters.

Xu Lin, director of the headquarters, said the conference would focus on the role of Confucius institutes in community services.

She said they set community service as the theme because more Confucius institutes have built their reputation in local communities through giving lectures on the Chinese culture and organizing other activities.

Delegates to the conference would discuss topics such as how should Confucius institutes and the universities they belong to help local schools open Chinese classes, Xu said.

Currently, altogether 282 Confucius institutes have been set up in higher education institutions around the world. They are jointly held by Chinese and foreign universities. Seen as a channel to spread Chinese culture around the world, the Confucius Institute is also a demonstration of China's rising soft power.

Confucius was an ancient Chinese philosopher whose thoughts are still cherished today. The Confucius institute conference has been an annual event since 2006.

(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2009)

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