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Chinese Language Gains Popularity in Egypt
Increased exchanges in a variety of areas between Egypt and China have enabled the Egyptians to pay more attention to China and the Chinese language, Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Youssef Wali said Saturday in Cairo.

Wali made the statement at a closing ceremony for a three-month Chinese course organized by the Chinese Embassy in Cairo and the Egypt-China Friendship Association.

"You can serve as tour guides for Chinese tourists, or work to promote economic and trade cooperation, especially following China's entry into the World Trade Organization last year," Wali told 60 Egyptian students who obtained Chinese language diplomas at the ceremony.

"China enjoys a promising future, and learning the Chinese language would help me a lot in the future," Hazem Hegazy, a student from an Internet company, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liu Xiaoming said China is planning to set up a Chinese language school in Cairo, the first of its kind in the Middle East region and on the African continent.

"We will continue to offer help for Chinese language learning in Egypt," Liu said.

So far, about 400 Egyptians from all walks of life have participated in 20 Chinese language courses since 1996, said the Egypt-China Friendship Association. And a new course will begin on Monday.

Reports said more and more universities in Egypt have regarded the Chinese language as one of the most important languages in the world.

The Chinese Language Department at Ain Shams University has taken the lead in teaching and studying the Chinese language in Egypt, with more than 400 undergraduates and 20 postgraduates studying in the department, reports said.

Al-Azhar University has also set up a Chinese language department, while Cairo University is preparing to establish a similar department and recruit students later this year, the reports added.

(People's Daily June 30, 2002)

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