International Chinese language education promotes understanding, friendship: spokesperson

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday that international Chinese language education has played an important role in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between China and other countries, and it is welcomed and applauded by people across the globe.

According to the Ministry of Education, 70 countries in the world have included the Chinese language in their national education systems so far.

In response to a related question at a daily press briefing, spokesperson Zhao Lijian said language serves as the tool and foundation for communication, adding that learning and mastering languages of different countries can help promote economic, trade and investment cooperation, cultural exchanges and friendly people-to-people exchanges among countries.

He said that people’s hearts are brought closer by language despite the geographical distance.

As many in China study English and other foreign languages, there are a great number of foreign nationals getting more interested in learning Chinese, Zhao said. Currently some 25 million people are learning Chinese outside China, and 40 million people took part in Chinese proficiency tests globally from 2016 to 2020, he said.

“This indicates the popularity and solid foundation of international Chinese education,” the spokesperson said.

“We should be glad to see and support normal people-to-people exchanges and cooperation rather than politicizing or even demonizing it,” Zhao said.

“China is willing to work with other countries to enhance people-to-people exchanges and cooperation including through language learning, to inject new energy into friendship and cooperation between China and other countries, cultural exchange and mutual learning, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” Zhao added.

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