Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong invites 100 students from UK Confucius Institutes to China’s “Chinese Bridge” Summer Camp
Chinese Vice Premier of the State Council Madam Liu Yandong attending the opening ceremony of the Model CITCM at London South Bank University (Photographed by Ma Chi)
LONDON, United Kingdom, Sep. 21 (China Daily, reported by Zhang Chunyan and Ma Chi) --On September 20, a bright sunny day, the opening ceremony of the Model Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine (CITCM) was held at London South Bank University by the Thames. Children from China and the UK, enthusiastically waving national flags of both countries, welcomed Chinese Vice Premier of the State Council Madam Liu Yandong in front of the building of the Confucius Institute.
At the ceremony, children from the Confucius Classrooms under the CITCM sang in chorus Chinese songs Two Tigers and Little Stars and performed a cross-talk show. Cameron James Patterson, a UK student and the winner of the 14th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students (Europe Division), recited with passion a classic Chinese poem Goodbye Again, Cambridge by Xu Zhimo, one of the most renowned 20th-century Chinese poets.
Madam Liu cheerfully watched the performance with other guests present. In her remarks, she spoke highly of the UK government for attaching great importance to the Chinese language. “The UK was one of the first countries to incorporate Chinese teaching into the national education system, and now it has become one of the European countries that have the most Confucius Institutes and Classrooms. Last year Prime Minister Cameron said that the number of Chinese language learners in the UK will have doubled by 2020 to reach 400,000. This ambitious and clear goal shows that the UK is an open and inclusive nation ready to learn from the rest of the world.” said Madam Liu.
In her capacity as Chairwoman of the Council of Confucius Institute Headquarters, Madam Liu gave a special gift to the 100 students from the CITCM and the Confucius Classrooms at local primary and secondary schools—her invitation for them to participate in the next year’s “Chinese Bridge” Summer Camp in China.
Madam Liu Yandong with students and teachers from the CITCM and its affiliated Confucius Classrooms (Photographed by Zhang Chunyan)
Liu praised the CITCM for its remarkable achievements. “As a time-honored higher education institution, London South Bank University has trained a wealth of talent. In 2007, London South Bank University established the world’s first Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine,” said Madam Liu, “Over the years the Confucius Institute has been making the most of its TCM advantage by offering quality Chinese language teaching to 42 local primary and secondary schools, and establishing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in TCM. In addition, the Confucius Institute has provided health services for local residents by opening acupuncture and massage therapy clinics, where altogether 13,000 people have received medical treatment.”
In 2013, the CITCM was listed as one of the world’s first Model Confucius Institutes. Last year, London South Bank University designated an independent downtown teaching building as the teaching venue for the CITCM to promote the Confucius Institute’s development. Recently, China and the UK successfully held an interesting and inspiring conference on TCM studies.
Madam Liu said, “Today, we are gathered here to celebrate the inauguration of the CITCM’s teaching building. It is the result of educational and medical cooperation between the two countries and represents another milestone in the development of friendship between the two peoples.”
Madam Liu also highlighted the significance of promoting Chinese language teaching and TCM in combination. “It is an innovative move for London South Bank University to combine Chinese language teaching and TCM promotion. With a history of thousands of years, TCM is a treasure trove of theoretical and practical knowledge about health preservation. It was first introduced to the UK in the 16th century, and has gained momentum in recent years. Millions of people receive TCM treatment every year in the UK, and acupuncture and massage therapy have already been included into the national social security system, putting the UK ahead of most other nations in Europe, and even in the whole world, in the popularization of TCM.” she said.
Madam Liu noted that to date China has established 493 Confucius Institutes and over 900 Confucius Classrooms at primary and secondary schools in 133 countries across the globe, with a total of 3.45 million registered students.
In his remarks, Professor David Phoenix, Vice Chancellor of London South Bank University, said that it was his great pleasure to have Madam Liu here and elaborated on the significant progress made by the CITCM in recent years as well as on the plan for its future development.
Also in attendance at the event was Mark Hendricks MP, Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary China Group. He said that his previous experience of leading a delegation to China sparked his intense interest in Chinese culture. He added that Confucius Institutes play an important role in spreading Chinese culture and facilitating the development of China-UK relations.
Students from the Confucius Institutes and Classrooms celebrated the event with Madam Liu and then took a photo with her. The inaugural ceremony ended on a joyful note, but the CITCM just embarked on a new journey from here.