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Friday, July 12, 2024

Zim learners in 23rd Chinese Bridge competition finals

Story by Justin Mahlahla

Seven tertiary students, 13 high school and 12 primary school winners have reached the 23rd Chinese Bridge Competition finals.

This was revealed by the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Zhou Ding while addressing the students at the University of Zimbabwe this Friday.

The event was organised by the Confucius Institute, the Department of Languages and Culture, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the University of Zimbabwe.

“You may not know that I have deep personal ties with the instruction of the Chinese language. In university, I majored in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL). If I had not enrolled in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 30 years ago, I might have become a Chinese language teacher in the Confucius Institute. I’ve always cherished this academic background; the experience has enriched my mind, and built the bridges to my diplomatic career.

“One year ago, I assumed the post as the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe. I am delighted to see the increasing enthusiasm for learning the Chinese language in Zimbabwe. When I visit local communities, it has become a common occurrence to be warmly greeted with “Ni Hao” and “Xie Xie” by the local people. An increasing number of Zimbabweans have gained deeper understanding of China, as China and Zimbabwe continue to strengthen our long-standing friendship, and our interactions and cooperation have become more dynamic than ever,” said Ambassador Zhou.

Chinese is the most spoken language in the world and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Today, Chinese is being taught in more than 180 countries, and 200 million non-Chinese people have been learning and using the language.

“As is widely known, language serves as a carrier of culture, a ladder that allows us to broaden our perspectives, a tool that enhances dialogues and communications in this increasingly globalized world. In 2023, H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Civilization Initiative, which advocates respect for cultural diversity, the inheritance and innovation of civilizations, as well as robust people-to-people exchanges among nations. In contrast to the idea of “clash of civilizations”, China has called for upholding the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations. The United Nations General Assembly has just adopted by consensus a resolution proposed by China, declaring June 10th the International Day for Dialogue among Civilizations, which shows the common desire of all UN member states,” he added.

Ambassador Zhou noted that for young people in Zimbabwe, through learning Chinese language, delving into China’s rich history, splendid culture and dynamic economy, they are also enriching themselves and strengthening the competitiveness in their career development.

“China is the most significant source of foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe. I am glad to know that some of the young people with knowledge of Chinese language have found employment in Chinese enterprises and projects currently underway in Zimbabwe, thus becoming proud contributors to the economic prosperity of Zimbabwe,” he said.

He said the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries encompasses not only trade and investment, but also dynamic cultural exchanges and educational cooperation which both the two governments deem vital for a shared future.

“Thanks to joint efforts from both sides, the Chinese Bridge Competition in Zimbabwe has evolved into a significant cultural event which is both educational and fun-filled. I am eager to witness the birth of 3 winners who will qualify for the Global Finals of 23rd Chinese Bridge in China. But winning is not the main goal today; all of the participants here are worthy of great respect. I salute you for your enthusiasm and your perseverance. You are the future of Zimbabwe. I believe that the knowledge and courage nurtured here will guide you in facing future challenges.”

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