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France Honors Zhou Qinling
Zhou Qinling, as a much loved favorite of the French and the overseas Chinese, has been officially recognized for her commitment to the promotion of youth exchange as a vibrant and exciting educational policy.

Born into an educated family from Shanghai, Zhou Qinling, also known as Ling Na, went on to graduate from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and for a time worked as a teacher at the Beijing Conservatory of Music. It was in 1979 when she went to France to study that her extraordinary talent and potential was discovered.

Working as a shop assistant, she spent much of her free time learning French and becoming acquainted with French culture. It was in those early days of her time there that she had a fortuitous encounter with a French musician who immediately recognized the talent of the young woman. During a visit at the musician's home, while acting as interpreter for the Chinese violinist, Liu Yuxi, she was given the opportunity to play the piano. Her immense ability immediately recognizable prompted the French musician to arrange for her to meet and have free lessons with influential friends. It was to be the beginning of a great career in France.

Zhou Qinling studied under three extraordinary French talents of the piano: Dubois Heuclin, Dominique Merlt and Yvonne Messien-Loriod after which she began to develop public acclaim touring as a concert pianist throughout France.

In 1995, Zhou Qinling began to express an interest in promoting her own teaching techniques for the piano when the Ling Na Piano Lessons series was published by Henry Lemoine Publishing House. This publication went on to be credited as an essential teaching text and amongst the very best in learning for the piano.

Also in 1995, Zhou Qinling was to further extend a public interest in the role and importance of education and music by establishing the International Youth Exchange Association for Culture and Art. In October of that year, the organization held the first Mido China & France Piano Competition in association with the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the French cultural ministry listed the competition as an important permanent event in Sino-French cultural exchange relations.

Empowered by the success of a brilliant career in music as well as being a prominent voice in educational culture exchange through music, Zhou Qinling, has acted as an advocate of the benefits of this cultural policy on behalf of the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Perhaps as a reflection of the kindness paid to her in the early stages of her career, Zhou Qinling has shown a commitment to many charities and has held celebrity performances, along with her students, for the International Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres and children's orphanages. On the suggestion of the French Ministry of Justice, she has also contributed to the cause of Asian prisoners in France at considerable expense and trouble to her self.

Zhou Qinling is indeed a cultural ambassador worthy of the award of the La Legion D'Honneur, 2002 and it is hoped will continue to play an active and prominent role in the promotion of cultural relations between China and France.

(china.org.cn by James Liu, October 10, 2002)

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