A senior Chinese official on Tuesday encouraged Confucius Institutes around the world to contribute more to language and culture exchange between China and the rest of the world.
State Councilor Liu Yandong said each Confucius Institute should make sure that every student can master the Chinese language and more such institutes would be set up.
The non-profit institutes, named after ancient China's influential philosopher Confucius, was initiated by China in 2004 as a tool to help non-native speakers to learn the Chinese language.
Figures provided by the Ministry of Education in October showed that 271 such institutes have been set up, either in partnership with local colleges or independently, in more than 70 countries and regions. About 100,000 people have attended courses.
About 500 heads of the institutes, presidents of universities where Confucius Institutes are located, and members of the Confucius Institute Headquarter's executive council, were in Beijing for the third congress of Confucius Institutes.
Liu, chairwoman of the executive council, said Confucius Institute had been playing a role of bridge to promote mutual understanding between the Chinese and the people in other parts of the world.
In order to meet the increasing demands of learning the Chinese language, Confucius Institutes should look into more innovative teaching methods to make the courses more effective, she said.
She also asked foreign countries to provide more support to local Confucius Institutes.
(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2008)