There are two facts in recent days that proves the increasing popularity of the Chinese language worldwide: registration of Chinese character domain names on the Internet, and the Chinese government passing a law protecting and promoting the use of Chinese language inside the country and around the world.
A latest survey shows that browsing on the net has become a hot choice by increasing number of ordinary Chinese. In the coming two to three years, these same people, who received a basic education and did not learn English, will be the major Internet users in the country compared with the current net browsers who are young, well-educated and who know English very well.
Yan Yixun, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the registration of Chinese character domain names is expected to have a great impact on overseas Chinese.
The draft law on the general use of Chinese language and characters adopted at the end of last month stipulates strictly the use and how to use standard Chinese.
Zhai Shiyu, a professor with the Xinan (southwest China) Teachers' University, said the law can forcefully guarantee the use and popularization of the standard Chinese language and characters.
"It's very important to the spreading and learning of the Chinese language worldwide," the professor added.
Statistics show that at present, 350 Chinese universities have foreign students, the majority of them come to learn Chinese language and culture. More than 250,000 foreigners came to China to learn Chinese in 1999, 4.5 times the figure for the 1980s. A report by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said that Britain plans to allocate 1 million pounds (US$1.4 million) in the next five years to promote the learning of Chinese among its citizens, since the Chinese language is expected to become a new global language in the new millennium.
France, a country which is proud of its own language, has 27 universities which opened Chinese courses in 1998, compared with only 11 universities in 1991. In addition, Chinese courses have also been opened in many of France's primary and middle schools.
HSK, an examination to test foreigners on their learning of Chinese language, has won increasing popularity in recent years.
The examination has been carried out in 19 countries, and in China, 21 cities have 36 such examination centers. By the end of last year, more than 140,000 people had taken the test.
Professor Zhai Shiyu said, in the past, foreigners learn Chinese because they are interested in Chinese language and culture. Today however, that one can speak and use Chinese means he has more chances of getting a higher paying job.
A correspondent from the Republic of Korea (ROK), who is in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, recently said that at present, 150 out of the ROK's over 200 universities have Chinese specialties. The correspondent majored in Chinese at a university in the ROK.
Experts pointed out that the increasing impact of the Chinese language worldwide has become hard to stop.
(People's Daily 11/13/2000)