Since the turn of the century, China has gradually taken on new roles in the international community. Supported by a fast-growing economy, China has not only developed into a regional power with expanded roles in Central and Southeast Asia, but the country also shows aspirations to become a great power through increased military capacities and political influences. While traditional power provides the mainstay for China’s rise, political elites in Beijing have taken notice of the unintentional challenges China may bring to the world as it continues to grow. For Beijing, such anxieties must be eliminated if China seeks to improve its global status. Employing the concept of “smart power,” this article examines the Confucius Institute, a language institution established by Beijing to serve as a channel for disseminating traditional Chinese culture to the world while shaping China’s international image. The Confucius Institute is an important part of cultural policy exploited by China to complement its hard power strategies and achieve its interests in the world.