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Nationalisms and Soft Power Games (民族主义, 软实力的博弈)

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Chinese Language Programs in Thailand (跌宕起伏的泰国中文教育)

This essay focuses on the roller-coaster ride of Chinese language education in Thailand in relation to time-specific nationalisms and “soft power” strategies exercised by the Thai and Chinese states. The article first examines how Thai and Chinese nationalisms shaped the rise and fall of Chinese-language education in 20th-century Thailand and then addresses soft-power games played by these two states in the process of reviving Chinese-language education in 21st-century Thailand. Each state employs distinctive strategies: the Thai government reduces learning the Chinese language to an economic tool; the Chinese government builds Confucius Institutes irrespective of the cost. The tortuous history of Chinese-language programs, especially the Thai state’s policies aimed at first eliminating and then, later, restoring them, sheds light on nation-building and the ability of a small state to exercise soft power, as well as on what has persisted and what has been transformed.本文主题是关于跌宕起伏的泰国中文教育, 民族主义, 以及 泰中“软实力” 博弈 三者之间的联系。文章首先分析在20世纪泰国和中国的民族主义如何影响泰国的中文教育然后讨论两国是如何在21世纪复兴泰国的中文教育并进行软实力博弈。在这一过程中两国各自展示了别具一格的策略: 泰国政府把中文教育等同于经济工具, 中国政府则不惜成本的在泰国建立孔子学院。曲折的中文教育历史, 尤其是泰国政府先是试图根除中文教育然后又试图恢复中文教育的政策, 进一步揭示了教育与国家建设之间的密切关系, 小国运用软实力的能力以及变中有不变。This article is in English.

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