China's 60th birthday festival for many Russians, says Russian Sinologist

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, September 30, 2009
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The 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China is not only a festival for the Chinese people, but also a commemoration day of significance for many Russians, a prominent Russian Sinologist told Xinhua Monday.

"Compared with any other previous period of time, we can clearly see that nowadays our Chinese friends are enjoying better and happier lives," said Alexey Rodionov, deputy director of the Confucius Institute of St. Petersburg State University.

With closer ties and deepening bilateral cultural exchanges between China and Russia, he said, more and more Russians were willing to learn about China, and the Chinese National Day that falls on Oct. 1 has become familiar to many Russians.

The 33-year-old expert on China, who once studied at Fudan University in Shanghai, said he had inherited an adoration and fascination toward Chinese language and culture from elder Russian scholars.

"Learning the Chinese language and culture is my lifelong pursuit," he said.

Although he did not witness the complete transformation of China during the past 60 years, Rodionov said the development of China from what he had experienced nonetheless had been astonishing.

"When I was living in Blagoveshchensk, a city on the opposite side of the Heihe River in China's Heilongjiang Province in the 1980s, I was full of curiosity about the country," he said, "I think it was like a land of mystery."

"But now wherever, at border areas or anywhere else, there are more and more interactions between China and Russia, as well as less and less misunderstandings," he said.

"When I came to Shanghai in 2003, what I saw was completely different from what I remembered when I studied there," he said.

Although there were far too many changes that occurred in China during the past 60 years, said Rodionov, many things remained the same. For instance, China still attached importance to moral cultivation, he said.

During the Soviet era, there were only five or six schools that taught Chinese language across Russia, but now in St. Petersburg alone, there were six or seven universities offering Chinese language courses, said Rodionov,

Many Russians chose to learn Chinese out of processional necessity or simply because they were interested in the country, he added.

"Now Chinese has become one of the most popular foreign languages in Russia. In St. Petersburg State University, it is one of the specialties with the highest threshold in terms of admission," he said.

Russia would celebrate the "Year of Chinese Language" next year, he said, and all the Confucius Institutes in Russia were preparing events promoting Chinese culture and language.

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