In the Name of Confucius
Catalogue Number: PR3809
Producer: Passion River Films
Producing Agencies: Mark Media Films
Subject: Business Studies, Canadian World Studies, Criminal Justice & Law, Current Events, Documentary, Politics, Social Sciences, Sociology
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2016
Running Time: 52:00
In the Name of Confucius is the first documentary exposé of China’s multi-billion dollar Confucius Institute, a Chinese language and culture program set up in partnership with foreign educational institutions. Since 2004, CIs have found their way into over 1,500 universities and schools worldwide. At the same time, millions of students inside China have been dropping out of school due to poverty. Why wouldn’t China spend the money on its own children? Is there a hidden agenda to the Confucius Institutes? And how are they impacting our society?
When Canada's largest school board, the TDSB, is slated to open the world's largest Confucius Institute, the school trustees find themselves embroiled in a growing global controversy. Critics argue that the seemingly benign Confucius Institutes come at a significant cost—a loss of academic integrity, foreign influence, violations to human rights, and even potential infringements on national security. Beijing itself describes the CIs as an important part of China’s “overseas propaganda set up” and continues to open new institutes at a rate of one every week or two.
Joined by one former CI instructor whose defection and discrimination complaint let to the first ever closure of a CI on a North American campus, hundreds of disgruntled parents launch an anti-CI campaign. They were soon confronted by CI supporters, allegedly rallied by the Chinese consulate. The school board then turned into a battleground as the tension between the two camps grows—culminating in a vote that will decide the fate of the CI partnership. What will the school board choose: principles or interests?
In the Name of Confucius examines the reasons schools welcome or reject the CI program. It provides an important perspective on some of the unintended outcomes of China’s rise, and our strengthening ties with it. The re-enactments star the reigning Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin and the producers are winners of the Peabody Award (Human Harvest).
"A milestone in the documentary field as well as a landmark in the social-historical arena."
- Sheng Xue, award-winning journalist