Take Chinese culture to the neighbors first

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, July 6, 2023
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Children display Chinese learning cards in front of an exhibition booth of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna during the Vienna International Book Fair in November 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The photograph of a question paper from an entrance test for Chinese as a foreign language at a Vietnamese college has gone viral on social networking sites. Many commented saying it reminded them of the difficulties they faced while sitting for an English test.

Though some might see it as a joke, it's true that people around the world are learning Chinese, and Vietnam as a neighbor has set a good example. Although Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam and French was a major language of the country at one point, the people there have also kept many Chinese customs and traditions alive. They still celebrate the Chinese New Year and post couplets with Chinese characters on their walls and gates; they play chess whose pieces have Chinese characters printed on them. All of this makes it convenient for the Chinese language to gain popularity in Vietnam.

The influence of Chinese culture can also be felt in Japan and some Southeast Asian nations, where there are many cultural overlaps. While China wants to take Chinese culture to Europe and the Americas, it might be a good idea to pay equal attention to spreading it in the neighborhood where deep cultural similarities already exist, creating a platform for easy exchanges.

In the just-concluded International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence were again stressed as basic requirements when handling relations among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Putting politics aside, culture is a good way for the three neighbors to improve their relations while taking the culture of East Asia to the whole world.

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