Confucius opens path for martial arts display

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 14, 2009
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For a 26-year-old Iranian woman, Confucius has given her a new way to display her skill at martial arts.

Though she teaches physical education at Tehran University in Iran, the laws there make it difficult for a woman to perform in public.

"Women in Iran usually are not allowed to sing or dance in public, but I can practice martial arts in the park, of course, with a headscarf that covers my hair," said Akramsadat Seyedrezaei.

In Beijing for the Fourth Confucius Institute Conference, however, she was able to perform on stage - even with other male friends.

"Practicing martial arts has been a popular sport among youngsters in Iran, and I am also happy to make many friends by learning and teaching it."

Seyedrezaei learns traditional Chinese martial arts at the Tehran-based Confucius Institute, and teaches it to female students in her class at Tehran University.

About 120 Iranian students study at the institute, and the martial arts course has attracted an increasing number of students.

On Friday evening, students from Confucius Institutes in 22 countries including Japan, Thailand, Mongolia and Australia staged a performance featuring Chinese songs and dances, as well as Peking Opera. It attracted delegates from 87 countries and regions.

State Councilor Liu Yandong said at the conference that the institutes had become an important brand of international Chinese language education and a significant platform for educational and cultural exchanges.

Liu, also president of the Confucius Institute headquarters council, said different cultures should respect and learn from each other and seek common ground while shelving differences.

"Languages, as carriers of culture and communication tools, are bridges for different civilizations," she said, adding that the Chinese government always encourages cross-cultural communication and advocates the study of other nation's languages.

Liu said the Confucius Institutes should innovate and localize teaching methodology and strengthen overseas cooperation.

More than 280 Confucius Institutes have been set up in higher education institutions around the world, with more than 230,000 students.

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