Chinese Culture Spreads across France--Highlights of He Guoqiang’s Presence at the Inauguration Ceremony of Chinese Language Year in France

[Source]    NewhuaNet [Time]    2011-07-06 10:13:16 
 

On July 4th, during his visit to France, Mr. He Guoqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, attended the opening ceremony of the Chinese Language Year program in France together with former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing in Paris. The photo shows Mr. He Guoqiang and Mr. Giscard d'Estaing unveiling the logo for the program. Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Gao Jing

Elegant Chinese folk music, red carpet, the five-starred red flag…

Xinhua News Agency, Paris, July 4th, by Ming Jinwei, Zheng Suchun and Ying Qiang—The Concord Hall of the Westin Paris Hotel, which is located in the downtown area of Paris, was filled with an atmosphere of Chinese culture. During his visit to France, Mr. He Guoqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, came to the hotel to attend the opening ceremony for the Chinese Language Year program in France together with former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

At 11:45 a.m., Mr. He received a warm welcome from Chinese learners from the French Forest High School and the Claude Debussy High School upon his arrival at the Concord Hall. “Welcome”, “thanks” and other greetings in Chinese helped bring Mr. He closer to the French students.

During his visit to France in November 2010, Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to initiate a cross language program which includes "The Chinese Language Year" in France and then "The French Language Year" in China from 2011 to 2012, aiming to promote language teaching programs in both countries and further expand exchanges between the two peoples and cooperation between the two countries.

Mr. He’s presence at the ceremony indicated that the cross language program had officially kicked off and that both sides have taken another significant step in following up on agreements reached between top leaders of the two countries.

The guests sat down to enjoy performances given by both Chinese and French artists and young people, including the song “Where is the Spring”, a poetry recitation of “My Motherland, My Mother Language”, wushu show, erhu solo and so on. All the performances displayed the charm of Chinese culture and clearly demonstrated the painstaking efforts of the artists.

Mr. He enjoyed the performances with great interest and applauded time and again.

After the performances, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing delivered a speech. The ex-president is over 80 years old and has engaged in learning Chinese for about 30 years. He first greeted others in Chinese and stressed the significance of the language program. He said that language is an important communication tool, and as such, that people could share their feelings together and learn about each other’s culture only when they master each other’s language. The ex-president said he started learning Chinese in 1980 in order to learn more about China's history and culture.

Finally, Mr. He Guoqiang gave a speech. He said that he was deeply impressed by Mr. Giscard d'Estaing’s efforts in learning Chinese whereas he cannot speak French. “I should learn from him,” he said modestly and humorously, evoking applause and laughter among the audience.

Afterward, Mr. He gave an introduction to the development of bilateral ties since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He underlined that people-to-people exchange was the base for deepening relations between the two countries and rapid development in Sino-French culture exchanges was an important and irreplaceable feature in the development of their comprehensive strategic partnership. Looking back on the history of Sino-French language and cultural exchanges, Mr. He dwelt on their history over centuries, ranging from the first set of Chinese teaching materials compiled by Frenchmen in the 18th century to Tong Wen Guan, the forerunner of the first modern university established in China in the 19th century; from French sages and literary giants such as Voltaire, Baron de Montesquieu and Hugo to leaders of the Chinese revolution who had studied in France, such as Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yi.

When discussing the current situation in regards to cultural and educational exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, Mr. He talked about the Chinese students’ craze for studying in France to the increasing “Chinese fever” in France; from the French young people’s interest in Tang poetry, Song prose, Han and Tang era clothing to Chinese tourists’ enthusiasm for the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

“There is an old Chinese saying, ‘What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks’. Language exchanges will surely help further promote cultural identity, communication and friendship between the two peoples.” His remarks caused a favourable reaction among the audience and evoked rounds of warm applause.

At the end of the ceremony, Mr. He Guoqing, together with Mr. Giscard d'Estaing, unveiled the logo in both Chinese and French for the Chinese Language Year in France. All the guests broke into warm applause once again.

Afterward, Mr. He posed for group photos with both the Chinese and French artists, and went to visit a Chinese teaching exhibition.

A French young man named Zou Jie, who also was involved in the performances, told reporters in an interview that he was very excited at Mr. He’s arrival and that he has received his Chinese teaching certificate, and is greatly looking forward to making contributions to teach the Chinese language and promote Chinese culture in France.

Although China and France are far apart from each other, the two peoples’ love for each other’s language and culture resounded on the River Seine over thousands of miles.

Mr. He’s visit to France and presence at the opening ceremony will surely further promote Sino-French exchanges in language and culture, and lay an important foundation for Sino-French relations and the friendship between the two peoples.