From Asia Times Online (link):
Beijing established what it calls the Confucius Institute with a mission to promote the Chinese language, culture and a range of other aspects of learning about China, including its business environment. Several of these institutes have already been established around the world, in such places as Japan, Australia, Sweden and the United States, and Beijing aims eventually to open some 100 of them.
The choice of the name is instructive, since for years it was Communist Party dogma that Confucianism held back China’s development. In recent years, however, Confucianism has undergone a kind of political resurrection in China, and in any case has a no threatening connotations. A “Mao Zedong Institute” probably would not be welcomed in most countries.
See also “Confucius can survive in this modern world” by Xinhua News Agency (link)