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Language year -- A window to showcase Chinese culture
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After the successful holding of the "Russian Language Year" in China last year, the "Chinese Language Year" is unveiled in Moscow on Tuesday as an effort to promote Chinese culture in Russia and strengthen all-round cooperation between the countries.

It is also aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and traditional friendship between the Chinese and the Russian peoples.

Without cultural exchanges, long-term friendship and common development would simply be empty talk.

Without language serving as a foundation for mutual understanding and bridge for communication, cultural exchanges would be limited.

That is precisely why the Chinese and Russian governments decided to hold the "Russian Language Year" in China in 2009 and the "Chinese Language Year" in Russia this year after the success of reciprocal national theme years in 2006 and 2007.

Such events are conducive to lifting the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation to a higher stage.

The reciprocal national theme years have injected strong impetus into the expansion of bilateral interaction and cooperation. The reciprocal language years will lay down a firm basis for China and Russia to develop all-round mutually beneficial cooperation.

More than 2,000 events were staged during the "Russian Language Year" in China, while a series of activities are expected to showcase Chinese language and culture in Russia this year, ranging from seminars, language skill contests, art festivals to themed Chinese cultural weeks.

Culture is the soul of a nation, for which language serves as a carrier. Through the unique window of the "Chinese Language Year," people from all walks of life in Russia will be able to feel the grandeur and charisma of the ancient East Asian country.

They will come to know Li Bai, the great poet of extravagant imagination, whose reputation in China is comparable to that of Alexander Pushkin in Russia.

They will come to know Cao Xueqin, the author of "The Dream of Red Mansions," an immortal man of letters similar to Russia's Leo Tolstoy.

They will come to know Zu Chongzhi, the record holder of the most accurate approximation for Pi for more than 900 years, whose contribution to mathematics can be matched to that of Dmitry Mendeleev, the creator of the periodic table of elements.

They will come to know China, a country not merely known for its textiles, toys and small electrical appliances, but also for the profundity of its culture.

Then they may come to realize how China managed to retain rapid growth while almost all other countries in the world suffered heavy blows from the global economic downturn.

In fact, more than 100 schools in Russia currently have opened Chinese language courses, in over 40 of which Chinese is the first foreign language. In total, nearly 10,000 people are learning Chinese in Russia.

In addition, in several major cities and regions across Russia, 12 Confucius Institutes, two Confucius Classrooms and one on-air Confucius Classroom have been launched.

Against the backdrop of China's stable growth and increasing strength, plus the unveiling of the "Chinese Language Year," a brand new round of "China Fever" is widely anticipated in Russia this year.

China and Russia are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and waters. Their strategic partnership of cooperation has been developing in a rapid, sound and steady way.

Their relationship, as an example of good neighborhood, mutual respect and mutual benefit in the international community, has become a cornerstone of the world's stability and security.

The reciprocal language years, particularly the "Chinese Language Year" in Russia, will facilitate not only the promotion of the Chinese culture in Russia, but also the bilateral cultural exchanges and all-round cooperation.

More importantly, it will further popularize the idea of a longlasting China-Russia friendship and common development.

(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2010)

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