Li Yuanchao attends ground breaking ceremony for China-aid Confucius Institute project at the University of Zambia
On the afternoon of June 20local time, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, who was on a visit to Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, attended the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of new teaching buildings for the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Zambia (UNZA). Mr. Li hoped that this very first China-aid Confucius Institute project in Africa would push cultural exchanges between China and Zambia onto the next level.
Li Yuanchao attending the ground breaking ceremony for China-aid Confucius Institute project
Li Yuanchao delivering a keynote speech at the ceremony
At the ground breaking ceremony, Mr. Li remarked that since the CI at the UNZA was jointly established by China and Zambia in 2010, it has helped the Zambians, in particular the youth and children, learn Chinese language and understand China. He expressed his wish that the friendship and the partnership between the Chinese and Zambian peoples can forever last, just as they did in the past fifty years.
Zambian Minister of Home Affairs Ngosa Simbyakula expressed his gratitude to Mr. Li, saying that Li’s attendance at the ceremony was significant for both the UNZA and China-Zambia bilateral relations. He added that an increasing number of people in Zambia have started to learn Chinese in the CI since its opening, for they desired to learn something useful from China’s successful experience.
Mr. Simbyakula emphasized that the CI at the UNZA has become not only a symbol of unity and cooperation between the two countries but also a beacon representing and promising a sustainable friendship between the two countries. He said, “Zambia has been independent for fifty years, but still we can learn a lot from China. We consider China an example of success, and we hope that Zambia can develop as fast as China through a series of economic reforms. If the Confucius Institute project goes well, it will help us resolve problems possibly encountered in the economic development. Plus, all this is taught in Chinese.”
Students from the CI at the UNZA performing the song and dance The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Students from the CI at the UNZA singing Jasmine, a famous Chinese folk song
Li Yuanchao (R3, 2nd row) and students from the CI at the UNZA
Later, students from the CI at the UNZA sang for Mr. Li two famous Chinese songs, Jasmine and The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which received Mr. Li’s commendation. “The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is definitely not easy to sing, but the students have done a great job in the harmony part”, “It seems that children in Zambia are natural singers. It’s really hard to hit the note, especially when the lyrics are written in Chinese. They really sang very well!” He then encouraged the students, “I hope you can learn Chinese well, so in the future you can go to China to travel, study and work or you can find a job in a Chinese enterprise in Zambia.”
“Chinese language courses have already been accepted as credit courses in two public universities and some secondary schools in Zambia, and they also have been included in Zambia’s education system. The CI has developed rather rapidly, with the number of students rising from 20 to over 4,700.” introduced Chinese Director of the CI at the UNZA He Yi to Mr. Li. Mr. Li Yuanchao hoped that all the faculty and students from the CI will continue to work hard to make more contributions to promoting Chinese culture and enhancing cultural exchanges and mutual understanding between China and Zambia.
Also on this visit with Mr. Li were Vice Minister of Commerce Li Jinzao, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yuxiao, etc.