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Remarks by H.E. Mr. Xin Shunkang on Chinese Language Learning and China's Development

Dear principal of Roosevelt Girl’s High School,

Teachers and students, boys and girls,


I am very delighted to come to your beautiful school and give you a brief introduction on Chinese language learning and China’s development. First of all, I wish to thank the dear principal for offering me the opportunity. I have been in Zimbabwe for more than half a year, but this is my first time to have face-to-face conversations with Zimbabwean students. One part of my ambassadorial duties is to promote Public Diplomacy, so today I come here, one of the Confucius Classrooms in Zimbabwe to fulfill my duty. Nowadays, there are more and more young people in Zimbabwe who can speak Chinese. Even in China Central Television, there is a hostess from Zimbabwe. Due to her contributions, 1.3 billion Chinese know more and deeper about Zimbabwe. After I attended the launch ceremony of 4 Confucius Classrooms in Zimbabwe this year, I just get the feeling that there will be a Chinese Fever in Zimbabwe.

Firstly, let me explain the reason why we should learn Chinese language.

1. Language is “skill”. Language used to be the tool of human beings to communicate, and now it becomes one important skill. In the 21st century, the economic globalization is moving fast, different countries depend much more on each other than ever before. To individual, to learn one more language means to master one more communication skill and to find more development potential and space.

2. Language is “key”. Language is not only a system of code, but also a key to open the world of culture. Language is the most important carrier for culture, storing the overall information of culture and conveying the cultural essence of a nation. As we say, “Language is the costume for thoughts, while literature is the symbol for thoughts.” 5,000-year-old China civilization is the only surviving one of four ancient civilizations in the world, mainly because Chinese people invent and use Chinese language. Through learning Chinese language, you open a gate of Chinese culture, know the life style, behavior way, value conception and national character of Chinese people and understand the real reason for the economic and social development of present China.

3. Language is “bridge”. When different countries and nations wish to establish friendly ties, they must use languages as the bridge to communicate. China has experienced 30 years of reform and opening up and achieved great economic and social development. The relations between China and the rest of the world have changed profoundly. China wishes to forge peaceful, mutual-beneficial, complementary friendship with other countries. To achieve this goal, we should strengthen our mutual understanding, know more about other cultures, learn other languages and enhance our communication. Thus, we can build a more harmonious and better world.

Secondly, I want to make a brief introduction on China’s development.

The People’s Republic of China was established on 1st October 1949. During the past 60 years, especially since China adopted the policy of reform and opening up in 1978, China has made unbelievable achievements in all aspects. Let me just mention some of the changes happened in China in statistics.

1. From 1949 to 2008, China’s GDP has jumped from 18 billion USD to 4.3 trillion USD, GDP per capita from 50 USD to 3,263 USD. China’s ranking in the world economy will exceed Japan and become the 2nd place this year.

2. In last 30 years, 200 million Chinese people have got rid of poverty.

3. China now has more than 2,000 newspapers, 9,000 magazines, 290 TV stations, 700 million mobile phone users, 300 million internet surfers and 180 million blog users. It is no doubt that Chinese people are the most active ones in sending short messages, writing blogs and surfing internet.

4. In 2009, more than 800 foreign journalists covered China’s National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In 2008, 300,000 journalists covered Beijing Olympic Games.

5. China has made significant progress in democracy and rule of law. China has constituted 223 pieces of laws. Elections from grass roots have been carried out since 1990s. More than 64,000 village committees were directly elected from villagers.

6. Over past three decades, China’s volume of foreign trade has multiplied by more than 100 times, from 20.6 billion USD up to 2.56 trillion USD.

7. 30 years ago, there was rarely foreign direct investment in China. In 2008, the volume of foreign direct investment in China exceeded 92.4 billion USD, ranking the 1st place among developing countries. By the end of 2008, China has invested nearly 150 billion USD in 170 countries and regions.

8. In last 30 years, 1.4 million Chinese students studied abroad in 109 countries and 45 million person-time travelled abroad.

Finally, I wish to emphasis that cooperation in education field between China and Zimbabwe is one of the important parts of our bilateral relations and makes positive contributions to the development of our overall relationship. China-Zimbabwe relation is more than just a bilateral relation, but a relationship of strategic and global meanings. The Chinese Government always attaches great importance to developing the comprehensive strategic partnership with Zimbabwe. China is willing to make joint efforts with Zimbabwe to strengthen exchange and cooperation in all areas, expand common interests, resolve disputes properly, push our bilateral relations to a new height, bring benefits to our two peoples and make contributions to the peace and prosperity of the world.

I sincerely wish those young people who have already learned, who is learning and who will learn Chinese language to know China better and became the ambassadors of China-Zimbabwe friendship to introduce more about China to Zimbabwe.

The Chinese Embassy to Zimbabwe will as always provide strong support to all of you, promote the spread of Chinese language in Zimbabwe, invite more Zimbabwean students to study in China and strengthen various exchange and cooperation between our schools.

Before concluding my remarks, I sincerely wish all the students who are learning Chinese make new and great progress in the future.

Thank you! Tatenda! 谢谢!

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