Some 50,000 citizens flocked into Chaoyang Park in the eastern Beijing to kick off the annual campaign promoting English-learning last Saturday.
Declaring the "English-learning Week" open, Beijing Vice Mayor Zhang Mao made a speech in English, noting that the municipal government has encouraged Beijingners to learn and use foreign languages with an aim to successfully host the 29th Olympic Games.
As a result of the massive participation in recent years, the number of the citizens who can speak foreign languages may reach four million this year, most of whom being public servants and the workers at the service sector, campaign organizers said.
Lectures, meetings with well-known persons, interactive games, book sales, foreign language corners and donations featured the campaign which attracted also representatives of education agencies of foreign countries, foreign students and foreign businessmen in Beijing, embassy staff as well as overseas media.
A highlight of the activity was the recruitment of foreign language volunteers, who will go into neighborhoods to help learners resolve their questions.
(BOCOG May 16, 2006)