Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




Foreign language education planning (FLEP) has been caught in the political turmoil and hustle of ongoing economic reform in the People’s Republic of China for several decades. This paper situates a recurring instrumentalist discourse of FLEP in China in the underlying language ideologies and historical contexts from 1949 to present day. Utilizing Cooper’s (1989) guiding question of “who makes what decisions, why, how, under what conditions, and with what effect?” (p. 88), this paper examines the decision-making process in language planning across several decades. A discussion of the repercussions of this instrumentalist approach to FLEP in different time periods in China calls attention to the difference and significance between treating language as a tool and as a resource (Ruíz, 1984, 2010).