The “I love China” Chinese speech contest among Belarusian college students was held at Minsk State Linguistics University in capital of the Republic of Belarus on May 31. This is the first time for Belarus to hold a Chinese speech contest since gaining independence ten years ago. Focusing on displaying the achievements of Chinese teaching in the country, the contest has gained strong support from relevant universities and attracted much public attention.
Fifteen contestants from the International Relations Department and the Language and Literature Department of Belarus State University, as well as the Translation Department of Minsk State Linguistics University, contested the final after surviving preliminary rounds. The content of the speech involved the experience of learning Chinese, knowledge of Chinese history and culture, appraisal of China’s opening-up policy as well as the experiences and feelings of studying in China and so on. Their emotional speeches were very moving.
A fifth grade student from the Minsk State Linguistics University, Vila Palash, won the first prize. “I love China, especially the Chinese language. I have studied in Beijing Language and Culture University for a year. I will study in Beijing again from this September through a scholarship granted by Chinese government. I am looking forward to going to Beijing again,” she said with great excitement.
The Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Belarus, Yu Zhenqi, attended the contest and delivered a speech. He said that “the friendly cooperative relationship between China and the Republic of Belarus has steadily improved since we established diplomatic relations 10 years go. The successful exchange of visits between President Jiang Zemin and President Alexander Lukashenko indicates that the political relationship between China and the Republic of Belarus has moved onto a new stage. The cooperation and exchange in various fields will be further widened and deepened and this will no doubt provide a good opportunity for developing Chinese teaching in Belarus.
Ambassador Yu said his embassy and the Chinese Ministry of Education had been supporting Chinese teaching in Belarus all along and would continue to support it in the future. He sincerely wished that college students of Belarus would master the Chinese language so as to better serve their country in the future and do their bit to the friendship of two countries.
According to the President of Minsk State Linguistics University, Ms.Baranova, this contest is an important event to the Chinese teaching in Belarus with far-reaching influence. The contest would further promote the development of Chinese teaching in Belarus.
Before the disintegration of former Soviet Union, there were neither any Chinese major nor Chinese teachers in universities and colleges of Belarus. All required Chinese language professionals were trained in Russia. Since the formation of the Republic of Belarus, however, Chinese teaching has been conducted in Belarus in order to satisfy the demand for Chinese language professionals in social and economic development. There has been great progress after ten years of sustained efforts. At present, three departments of two universities of Belarus have set up a Chinese major with over 110 students. Most graduates have been active on the diplomatic, economic, cultural and educational fronts of Belarus.
The Chinese embassy to the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Education and National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language attach great importance to Chinese teaching in Belarus. China has sent experts and donated books and materials, as well as teaching facilities to Belarus.
(china.org.cn by Wang Qian, June 21, 2002)