The second and final rounds of the Sixth Chinese Bridge – Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students kicked off today in Changchun, in northeast China's Jilin Province. The ten-day competition has collected foreign students of Chinese from universities around the world who have survived international preliminary rounds.
"Chinese Bridge has become a stage for these foreign students to show off their Chinese linguistic skills as well as their understanding of Chinese culture," Zhao Guocheng, deputy director of the Office of Chinese Language Council International, told China.org at an exclusive interview.
The number of students who signed up for the preliminary doubled in comparison to last year, Zhao stated. There is also universal improvement in the competitors' Chinese proficiency.
"In the past, students from China's neighboring countries displayed superior performances due to the fact that their home environments are closely connected to Chinese culture. This year, we are happy to report that students from other regions have dramatically caught up and are posing as positive rivals," said Zhao.
Zhao also noted that most learners are motivated by their obsession with Chinese culture. Some foreigners have a profounder understanding of Chinese culture than most native speakers.
The Chinese Bridge competition, initiated in 2002, is an annual event hosted by China's Office of Chinese Language Council International. There have been 381 finalists from 50 countries displaying their Chinese skills and versatile performance in the past five years.
(China.org.cn by Huang Shan, August 3, 2007)