A project, that would see the Chinese government provide 100 annual scholarships to young EU students, kicked off in Brussels on March 20, according to China Youth Daily.
Liu Wanliang, an official with China's mission to the European Union, said the program was fomented last September during the 9th China-EU Summit meeting in Helsinki when both sides agreed to deepen bilateral educational exchanges.
Liu said that the project specifically targets EU students under 35 years of age, seeking to study at university level. Once their applications are successful, they will receive a full state scholarship to study the language and culture of China. The program will stretch from 2007 to 2011, encompassing 115 Chinese universities.
Detailed information, including application procedures, application form and a short list of universities, are available at the official website of China's Mission to the European Union (http://www.chinamission.be/eng/ofzz/).
Official statistics put the number of people studying Chinese abroad at 30 million from over 100 countries. Over 2,500 universities now teach Chinese with tuition even spreading down into primary and secondary education in countries such as Britain, Thailand and Indonesia. Over 1 million South Korean and Japanese are studying Chinese. It is estimated that by 2010, about 100 million people in the world will learn Chinese with at least 4 million teachers needing to be trained.
(China.org.cn by Zhou Jing, March 21, 2007)