The Office of Chinese Language Council International (Chinese: 国家汉语国际推广领导小组办公室; pinyin: guójiā Hànyǔ guójì tuīguǎng lǐngdǎo xiǎozǔ bàngōngshì) is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. Hanban describes itself as a "non-government and non-profit organization", but The Economist calls it a "government entity". The current President of the Chinese Language Council International is Vice Premier Liu Yandong and organizationally it sits directly under the Ministry of Education.
According to the mission statement: "Hanban is committed to developing Chinese language and culture teaching resources and making its services available worldwide, meeting the demands of overseas Chinese learners to the utmost degree, and to contributing to global cultural diversity and harmony." Generally, the Council is charged with cultivating knowledge and interest in the Chinese language and culture in nations around the world that are not native speakers of Chinese.
Academics and journalists have criticized the Hanban, particularly the Confucius Institute program that has rapidly grown worldwide since 2004.
Hanban is most notable for the Confucius Institute program, but it also sponsors the Chinese Bridge competition, which is a competition in Chinese proficiency for non-native speakers. On April 2007 while inspecting Hanban, Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo in charge of ideology and propaganda stated that: "the construction of Confucius Institutes is an important channel to glorify Chinese culture, to help Chinese culture spread to the world...(which is) part of China's foreign propaganda strategy""