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History on Chinese Language Education Traced Back in Macao

In Macao, which is the headstream of developing Chinese language learning to westerners, the International Symposium on the History of Chinese Language Education was opened Friday.

The conference gathered together 80 scholars engaged in Chinese language teaching or research from 10 countries including Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Russia and Japan.

In a welcoming speech, Fernando Chui Sai On, secretary of social and cultural affairs with the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government, said that it is an exhilarating occasion that scholars from the education, history and cultural circles could discuss the history and prospect of Chinese language education in the city, which witnessed China's earliest spread of Chinese language education to overseas in the 15th Century.

Macao was a small port in south China, where westerners first landed on the oriental continent over 400 years ago. The city still preserves abundant historical documents on how the Chinese language education was developed around the world. This is exactly the aim of the symposium, said Chui.

"With an importance given to the Chinese language teaching and research overseas, especially since 1980s, the Chinese culture studies have become a cause worthwhile for international academic research," said Ren Jiyu, curator of the National Library of Chinain his congratulations speech to the opening of the symposium.

The three-day symposium was jointly sponsored by the Macao Polytechnic Institute, the Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Beijing Language and Culture University.

Li Xiangyu, rector of the Macao Polytechnic Institute, is the one who made the earliest research to disclose that Macao is the location of the headstream for developing Chinese language learning to westerners and the earliest to introduce Chinese language education into curriculum in higher-learning institutes.
(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2004)

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