People-to-people and Cultural Exchanges between China and Foreign Countries Gain Momentum in Both Ways

[Source]    People's Daily Overseas Edition [Time]    2017-12-29 17:01:53 

The teacher from the Confucius Institute at Volgograd State Pedagogical University Kotelinnikova (right) teaching Chinese to her students Photo by Bai Xueqi, Xinhua News Agency

“I know I’ve always had a pair of invisible wings which can make me fly and give me hope……” This year, at the final of the 16th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, Li Can, a blind Sudanese girl who has learned Chinese for two years at the Confucius Institute at the University of Khartoum, sang the Chinese song “Invisible Wings” fluently and smoothly, touching many audiences in the competition. Currently, 9.16 million foreigners like Li Can are learning Chinese in the institutes around the world.”

“State-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples. And such friendship grows out of close interactions between the peoples.” Recently, the General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and the General Office of the CPC Central Committee of the People’s Republic of China issued the Several Opinions on Enhancing and Improving People-to-people and Cultural Exchanges (hereinafter referred to as “the Opinions”). As the special document for better people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries, the Opinions will further enhance people-to-people bond and mutual learning among civilizations between China and other countries.

Bringing in: Learn from Others to Tackle Our Problems

Recently, Yin Baohu, Director of the China Legal Exchange Center, has been very busy. As the “Belt and Road” initiative is promoted rapidly, understanding legal systems and policies for economy and trade of relevant countries has become an urgent need for lawyers working for Chinese or foreign enterprises. “We plan to adopt such methods as sending out missions and holding international symposiums to invite experts in legal and law circles from countries alongside the “Belt and Road”. We are trying to learn from other's strong points to make up our deficiencies, and lower the legal risks that the Chinese enterprises encounter while engaging in foreign investment and trade,” said Yin.

“Bringing in” is an important part for people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and other countries. In recent years, China has established a number of mechanisms and platforms: 8 high-level people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanisms with Russia, the United States, the European Union, and other countries have been launched successively; several platforms initiated by China and participated by the international community like Boao Forum for Asia, ECO Forum Global, and Taihu World Cultural Forum are growing day by day.

“The topics we choose such as ecological civilization, cultural soft power and a community of shared future for mankind are all international hot issues. We try to help foreign and domestic thinkers, intellectuals and scholars break the shackles of ideological prejudices and eventually promote world mutual learning among civilizations through theoretical communication,” said Yanzhao Zhu, Chairman of Taihu World Culture Forum.”

Going global: Build Our Brands to Better Present a Vigorous China

“Can every Chinese practice Kongfu?” “Do you have refrigerators or washing machines?” ……Facing these questions, Wang Qiong, a Chinese teacher in a small town near Ponca City of Oklahoma, realized that some Americans know little about China.

With intense preparations, Wang organized a “China Day” culture-themed activity and invited local primary and secondary school students and their parents. The locals were invited to watch the videos and pictures about China, and taste the Chinese delicacies. They expressed their gratitude for this eye-opening event by shaking hands with her. Since then, she has become the messenger of Chinese culture in the town.

In the past 10 years or so since its establishment, the Confucius Institute has dispatched more than 60,000 Chinese directors, teachers and volunteers to various countries for Chinese proficiency education. With their own actions and stories, these people present a more real and comprehensive China to the world.

The Opinions points out that we should highlight the two momentums of “going global” and “bringing in”, and give our major support to internationalize representative projects such as Chinese language education, traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts, Chinese delicacies, Chinese festivals, folk customs and other intangible cultural heritages. The Opinions also proposes to make the Confucius Institute a world-class language promotion platform.

“To tell Chinese stories well, we think that, how we tell them is much more important than what we tell. We insist that our teaching content should be linked to the local mindsets, customs and ways of acceptance, and it should be integrated into the homes of local ordinary people; by doing so, we can enhance mutual trust, remove doubts, and build common consensus”, according to a relevant head from the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the managing institution of the Confucius Institute.

Invigorating Cultural Exchanges: Making It Constructive to Eliminate The Cultural Gap

The Opinions indicates that we should continuously innovate and enrich the contents and forms of the multilateral platforms for people-to-people and cultural exchanges, pushing forward mutual learning and exchanges among different countries, regions and civilizations.

“People-to-people and cultural exchanges should be invigorated to eliminate the cultural gap.” Yan Zhaozhu still remembered that two years ago Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia came to visit the Qihuang TCM Jiangzhong Experiencing Center for Foreign Dignitaries shortly after its launching. “Sihamoni experienced the pulse diagnosis of traditional Chinese medicine and identification of Chinese herbal medicines. After observing the processing of the traditional Chinese medicine, he highly praised it and expressed that he would personally promote it back in Cambodia.”

Yan said that people-to-people and cultural exchanges should be conducted unconsciously but constructively. Sometimes a good exchange experience is worth a thousand words. During the annual meeting of Taihu World Cultural Forum, exhibition and experience activities of Chinese intangible cultural heritage and Chinese delicacies are arranged and highly appreciated by foreign guests.

The China Law Society encourages the establishment of research centers and training bases jointly by Chinese and foreign law schools, so as to provide more opportunities for better communication, interaction and training among legal experts at home and abroad. "We believe that the difficulties and conflicts facing Chinese and foreign legal and law circles can be solved through continuous mutual visits, exchanges and internships," Yin Baohu said.

People's Daily Overseas Edition (December 26th, 2017, Page 1)


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