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Spotlight: Chinese language, culture growing increasingly popular worldwide
2017/07/30
 

BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- In the past five years, the world has embraced the Chinese culture as a result of China's growing global influence.

More and more people are starting to learn the Chinese language and culture, building bridges connecting China with the world.

CHINESE LANGUAGE FACILITATES COOPERATION

In 2006, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School joined forces with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai to co-found the Confucius Institute in the U.S. city of Chicago.

"Many American children now study Chinese. Some parents even employ babysitters who can speak Chinese to take care of their kids," said Xu Qun, a Chinese teacher at the school.

In recent years, "Mandarin fever" has increased across the world with more and more young people being attracted to the Chinese language and culture.

By the end of 2016, 1,073 courses have been offered by 512 Confucius Institutes across 140 countries and regions to foreigners who are fond of the Chinese culture.

The Chinese proficiency competition, Chinese Bridge, has aroused enthusiasm among foreign college and high school students eager to learn Mandarin and participate in the competition.

Alice, a 27-year-old Kenyan woman, sees Chinese as the stepping stone to her career. After studying the Chinese language in China for several years, she got a job as an interpreter at a railway construction project in Kenya, sponsored by a Chinese enterprise.

For Hami, a young Afghan man who started to learn Chinese at Kabul University a few years ago, "the Chinese language is a magic key." It opens the door for him to understand China. Now he is a Chinese teacher at Kabul University.

These young people not only want to gain a good command of the Chinese language, but also take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote cooperation between China and their respective countries.

CHINESE CULTURE BRINGS HEARTS CLOSER

In the largest chain store of the British book retailer Waterstones in London, Chinese writer Liu Cixin's short story "The Wandering Earth" has been put on the "Recommended" shelf.

Chinese literature, including classic literature, web fiction and children's literature, are becoming increasingly popular, said a cashier at the book store.

She said Liu's science fiction work "The Three-Body Problem" was popular among British readers, and some readers even came to the store to ask when the second book of the series would be available in English.

Five years ago, no one could have imagined how popular Chinese culture would become in Britain. Chinese writer Xu Zechen, who came to London to attend a book exhibition in 2012, walked around many book stores to look for some Chinese literature, but came up with nothing.

Many people here are interested in China and Chinese literature, and reading Chinese books is an effective way to know more about the Chinese culture, said Frances Wood, a famous British sinologue.

In Russian online book store OZON, Chinese writer Mo Yan's novel "Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out" has been given the highest rating of five by Russian readers and Chinese writer Bi Feiyu's "Massage" is graded 4.8.

Chinese movies and TV dramas, such as "Monster Hunt," "Nirvana in Fire," and "Ode to Joy" have been introduced to many countries and aroused global enthusiasm for Chinese films and television.

"China is quite far from Africans, however, we feel that the Chinese people are with us through watching Chinese films and TV dramas, sharing happiness, sorrows and dreams," said Clermont Mszana, president of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.

In Vietnam, Chinese films and TV dramas have won a lot of fans as the two countries have similar cultures. In recent years, a variety of Chinese TV shows such as "We Are In Love" and "Where Are We Going, Dad?" have become popular in the neighboring country.

There are a rich variety of Chinese cultural products in Vietnam, for example, Chinese films and TV dramas which boast a huge number of viewers, said Tran Thi Thug, a researcher with the Institute of Chinese Studies at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.

"The influence of China's soft power has been increasing in the world," Tran said.

CHINESE SPRING FESTIVAL GOES GLOBAL

"This year we must make Chinese dumplings during the Spring Festival. It must follow my Chinese mother's recipe without any change," said Andrea Miles, an Australian, before this year's Chinese Spring Festival.

She was preparing to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at home by making dumplings with her Chinese friends in Sydney.

Like Miles, many foreigners want to celebrate the Chinese New Year as the Spring Festival has been celebrated not only in Chinatowns and Asian communities, but also in mainstream societies of various countries.

Different countries celebrate the Spring Festival in many ways, such as the Spring Festival-themed costumes on the Empire State Building in New York, the London Eye, Sydney Opera House and other famous landmarks, the new year's greetings by dignitaries and leaders of some international institutions, and the zodiac stamps issued all over the world.

Apart from those regular activities, something new has emerged, such as the first Spring Festival Gala on TV in France, a "Happy Spring Festival" at schools in the United States, temple fairs held by 56 countries on five continents, and "A Walking New Year's Eve Dinner" in Madrid, Spain, among others.

"Spring Festival attaches great importance to family and friendship. It worships inclusion, emphasizes harmony, and thus is similar to the spirit of multiculturalism of the United States," said Liao Shenzhan, dean of a Confucius Institute in the United States.

"With China's rapid development and the increasing population of the ethnic Chinese, the Chinese traditional culture, such as the Spring Festival, is becoming a dynamic culture worldwide," he added.

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