We now have a first-hand defence of the project from China itself.
China's Confucius Institutes should be judged on how they operate in practice, Ms Xu tells me, not by reference to abstract principles.
And yet what if, in practice, that hypothetical student in the back of the language class ever does put up his hand to ask about Taiwanese independence?
"Every mainland teacher we send," she tells me, "all of them will say Taiwan belongs to China. We should have one China. No hesitation."
Source: BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-30567743)