Chinese Is a Bridge

[Source]    People’s Daily Overseas Edition [Time]    2019-01-16 10:53:51 

There is a group of people in the world at different ages and from different places. Some are innocent children, and some are seniors; some of them live in remote towns and some are in busy cities... but they all share the same goal—to learn Chinese.

As statistics show, there are 548 Confucius Institutes, 1,193 Confucius Classrooms at primary and high school and more than 20, 000 Chinese schools, providing learning platforms for overseas Chinese lovers worldwide. The increasing number of Confucius Institutes and Chinese schools reflects a steady rise of Chinese in the world.

The latest report on the global rise of Chinese is that for the first time, hundreds of Russian secondary school students will take a unified national examination of Mandarin Chinese in 2019. Not only in Russia, but also in New Zealand, many people prefer to learn Chinese as their second foreign language; from 2010 to 2016, Chinese learners in Australia have increased rapidly; by October 2017, in the Republic of Cape Verde, 52 Chinese classes in 15 secondary schools had been fully opened, and Chinese courses had gradually entered secondary schools in Cape Verde... As Jo?l Bellassen, a famous French sinologist, once said, “Chinese is becoming an international language.”

The reason for the craze of learning Chinese is because nations around the world are optimistic about China’s prospect of development with its growing economic strength, expansion of political influence, and improvement of international status. Besides, the role that Chinese plays in international economic trade and cultural exchanges is prominent and the cultural value and practical value of Chinese are constantly improving.

Even though overseas Chinese learners learn Chinese out of different expectations, some learn Chinese for better job opportunities and other take Chinese-learning as a way to know China...Chinese, in short, is not simply a language for them.

Kang Kemi, a Chinese learner in Confucius Class at Lakeside Union Elementary School in San Diego, United States, participated the “Chinese Bridge” Competition for Elementary and Secondary School Students held by the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University in 2017. She still remembered the scene that her parents shared the same excitement with her after being informed by sign language interpretation that she won the champion of the competition.

Xu Zhoujun, born in Spain, likes not only Su Shi’s Drinking at the Lake First in Sunny and then in Rainy Weather, but also Li Bai’s Cataract on Mount Lu, because from her view, “Every ancient Chinese poem is like a cup of light tea with endless fragrance.”

Since language is the carrier of culture, Chinese culture can only be understood by learning Chinese language. Chinese is a bridge. Through it, more and more people approach and understand China.

(Story by Zhao Xiaoxia, People’s Daily Overseas Edition, Page 9, January 11th, 2019)

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