Liu Yandong Holds Roundtable with Representatives of Confucius Institutes from CEE Countries at University of Zagreb
Original headline: A New Chapter of China-CEEC People-to-people Exchanges -- Liu Yandong Holds Roundtable with Representatives of Confucius Institutes from CEE countries at University of Zagreb
Liu Yandong, Chinese Vice Premier of the State Council, holds a roundtable with representatives of rectors, Confucius Institute directors and sinologists from Central and Eastern European countries.
For teachers and students from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, May 23 was a very special day. Two years ago, the first Confucius Institute in Croatia, in the presence of both Chinese and Croatian leaders, was established around May 23. As the University of Zagreb celebrated the 2nd anniversary of its Confucius Institute, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong’s visit elated the university rector Aleksa Bijelis and his partners -- teachers from the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics. Krešimir Jurak, Croatian Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zagreb, said with great excitement that he felt really surprised yet honored to receive in person Vice Premier Liu Yandong since in the past he could only watch from a distance Liu Yandong deliver speeches at the annual Confucius Institute Conference.
At 3:30 p.m., Liu Yandong, companied by the university rector, came to the hall of the Confucius Institute to watch the students practice Chinese calligraphy and paintings, play Chinese chess and perform Chinese kung fu. She also held cordial talks with the students. A student engaged in drawing greeted Liu Yandong in Chinese when she saw her at the table, “Hello! Do you think my painting is beautiful?” “Yes! You’ve done a great job!” Liu Yandong answered. When seeing some girl students immersed in Chinese chess, Liu Yandong asked them how long they had learned to play Chinese chess. “We’ve been learning Chinese chess for a year and a half, and we really enjoy it.” replied the students. When watching a group of students in white silk kung fu outfits practicing Wing Chun, Liu Yandong commended their wonderful performance.
In a classroom on the third floor, Yang Mengjie, a volunteer Chinese language teacher and graduate from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, was teaching a class of students from different departments of the University of Zagreb. Liu Yandong entered the classroom and asked one of the students why he chose to study Chinese. The young man, a medicine major, responded in fluent Chinese, “Because I want to go to China to learn traditional Chinese medicine.” In another classroom, Ioana, the very first local Chinese language teacher of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zagreb, was teaching a bunch of six-graders to read the A Traveler’s Song, a famous Tang poem by Chinese poet Meng Jiao. Liu Yandong could not help holding a girl in her arms and giving her a gentle kiss when hearing the students’ enunciative reading in a tender voice.
Amid the warm applause of the university faculty and students, Liu Yandong delivered an impromptu speech. She remarked that the University of Zagreb, located in the renowned “pearl of the Mediterranean Sea” Croatia and with 70,000 students on campus, is the largest-scaled and oldest university in Southeastern Europe, and its two-year-old Confucius Institute, as an embodiment of the friendship between the Chinese and Croatian peoples, has already scored fruitful achievements. She further said that China and Croatia share a time-honored, deep friendly tie, and China greatly values the China-Croatia comprehensive cooperative partnership, in particular the political mutual trust based on mutual respect and equal treatment, adding that what we have achieved is not only our common invaluable treasure but the fundamental guarantee for the sound and stable development of China-Croatia relations. Liu Yandong encouraged young people in Croatia to work hard to study Chinese and learn more about Chinese culture, and in future devote themselves to the friendly exchanges between the two peoples. On behalf of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Liu Yandong presented as gifts 1,000 Chinese language textbooks and 500 teaching articles for experiencing Chinese culture, and invited 20 students to participate in the “Chinese Bridge” Summer Camp in China. She also extended her sincere wish that the Confucius Institute at the University of Zagreb will have a bright future and will serve as a bridge of learning, exchanges and friendship that tightly connects China and Croatia.