Newsletter: “China, Like a Home to Me”
The UK Regional Final of the 17th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students Comes to End

[Source] [Time]    2018-04-02 13:18:58 

“China is just like my home. Every time I leave, I miss the hot tomato egg noodles in the small restaurants in Beijing.” On the evening of March 24th, Anna, from the University of Aberdeen, delivered a Chinese speech entitled “Coming back home” at the UK Regional Final of the 17th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students.

In that same evening, the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre was fully-packed. Hundreds of spectators enjoyed the exciting final of the 11 candidates, all of whom were the best out of 30 who were selected from a quarter-final from 20 universities in the UK.

The competition included four sections: speeches, Q&A, talent shows and impromptu Q&A. This year’s “Chinese Bridge” was themed “One World, One Family”, and the contestants were required to talk about their understanding towards this topic by producing speeches in fluent Chinese.

Scott, from the University of Edinburgh, recited A Red, Red Rose written by Scottish poet Robert Burns, and Love Seeds written by Chinese poet Wang Wei. He also said, “the two poems are of different ages, different countries and different languages, but they can strike a responsive chord in the hearts of the readers after being understood. In my opinion, this is the best embodiment of the theme ‘One World, One Family’ ”.

Zeqiao, from Oxford Brookes University, was born in Albania. When she was young, she followed her parents throughout many countries. She said that once, her mother taught her a Chinese song. One year, in a Chinese restaurant in Italy, her family began to sing this Chinese song spontaneously after finishing the meal, catching the owner’s attention as well as the chef’s, and soon after all customers joined in the chorus. “In that restaurant in Italy, the people who sang along with us were not Italians, but everyone seemed to be back home. In my eyes, no matter which country you are from, no matter which country you will reach in the future, we are all family."

Scott, a contestant from the University of Edinburgh playing the guitar at the competition on March 24th in London, UK

During the quiz segment, all contestants displayed their aptitude in Chinese language, Chinese culture and China's national conditions. The talent shows delivered wonderful performances of Chinese martial arts, crosstalk, storytelling, classical dance and pop music, winning waves of applause from the crowd.

Zeqiao, a contestant from Oxford Brookes University at the competition on March 24th in London, UK

After fierce competition, Erskine and Robbins, two contestants from the School of Asian and African Studies (SOAS) at University College London, won the Special Award and the First Prize respectively.

Since its inauguration in 2002, the “Chinese Bridge” has attracted about 1 million young students from more than 100 countries and regions. The UK leads in Europe in terms of Chinese language teaching and promotion, with 29 Confucius Institutes and over 140 Confucius Classrooms running. Such large-scale promotion of Chinese teaching has laid a solid foundation for British contestants’ excellent performances in the competition.

Dr. Yuan Boping, the chief referee of this year’s competition and the academician of the Churchill College of Cambridge University, told the journalist that, as the number of Chinese learners in Britain increase, “Chinese Bridge” contestants now include both Chinese majors and Chinese enthusiasts who are not majoring in Chinese. Some of them learn Chinese by themselves, others take Chinese as one of their minors. In order to encourage more people to learn Chinese language and culture as well as to provide a more reasonable platform for competition for non-Chinese-major learners, this year’s regional competition in Britain divided the contestants into Chinese-major group and non-Chinese-major group correspondingly for the very first time.

In addition, the organizing committee of this year's competition also actively sought cooperation with local British companies by organizing job fairs for bilingual talents on the day of the final.

In the final segment, Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to Britain, addressed that, the idea, “One World, One Family”, embodies the culture and traditions of the Chinese nation, illuminates the future of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Britain, and also reflects the common aspiration of universal harmony in the world. “As long as we work together, we will build a bridge of cultural exchanges, a bridge of mutual communication, and a bridge of friendship and cooperation. This is exactly the essence of the ‘Chinese Bridge’ ”, said Liu Xiaoming.

(Story by Zhang Dailei, Liang Xizhi; photos by Han Yan, Xinhua News Agency, London, March 24th)