Leading article: Chinese way

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The extraordinary resuscitation of Confucius by the Chinese is an attempt by the world's most populous country to spread its influence around the globe. In the words of the image-makers, China is rebranding itself. Where better place to start the business of educating the world about your history and culture than in the universities? The Confucius Institutes opening in London, Edinburgh and Manchester in the coming year will be cultural centres for the local communities, like the British Council is in Shanghai. Will they be spreading Communist Party propaganda? If they have any sense they won't. There is a real hunger to know more about China. British students want to learn Mandarin and understand the world's next superpower. These institutes could help them do so.