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Chinese Language/Culture Contest Announced
To let the world have a better understanding of China and promote international cultural and educational exchanges, the China National Leading Group for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language will hold the First “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students. Contestants will come from 21 countries including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Australia, and Egypt.

With the sustainable development of China’s economy and the steady growth of its prestige in the world, especially after its accession to WTO and Beijing’s successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games, Chinese language has drawn world-wide attention. More and more people in Europe, America, and Asia want to learn Chinese.

Sponsored by the State Leading Group for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, the competition will be organized by the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) and be conducted in cooperation with educational or cultural divisions of Chinese embassies in foreign countries, consulates general, and Chinese teachers assigned abroad by NOCFL.

Eligible participants include overseas Chinese nationals aged below 30 and Chinese students studying abroad who were born in foreign countries and whose first language is not Chinese.

Contestants will be examined on Chinese language abilities, basic knowledge about China, performance of skills such as singing Chinese songs, playing traditional Chinese musical instruments, and performing Chinese calligraphy, painting, paper-cuts and martial arts.

The competition is divided into preliminary, semi-final, and final rounds. Competitors with the best records in the preliminary round will be invited to participate in the semi-finals and finals in Beijing from August 10 to 18. First-prize winners will receive a full scholarship to study for a bachelor’s degree in China. Meanwhile, they will also receive the honorary title of “Ambassador of Chinese Language and Culture.” Second-prize winners will get a scholarship for a four-six week study program in China during winter or summer vacation. Third-prize winners will get a chance for a 15-day Chinese cultural tour. All participants in the semi-finals will be presented souvenirs.

Panels of language, cultural and artistic judges will make on-the-spot judgments during the semi-finals and finals.

It is the first time for China to hold such a worldwide competition for students learning Chinese. The competition is expected to encourage foreign students to make more efforts in learning Chinese language and culture, thus encouraging the understanding of Chinese culture in the world.

(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong and Sara Grimes on May 30, 2002)

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