An official closing ceremony for the Chinese Language Year in Russia is set for Wednesday.
More than 200 activities have been staged so far in Russia during the cultural program, which has not only promoted mutual understanding and friendship between the Russian and Chinese people, but also consolidated the social basis for the two countries to deepen their political trust and pragmatic cooperation.
In this file photo, a Russian boy and his mother learn Chinese language in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province. More and more Russians begin to enjoy Chinese food and opera, watch TV programs to learn Chinese, and travel in China in recent years.
The New Year greeting exchanges between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Dec. 31, 2009, officially marked commencement of the Chinese Language Year program in Russia in 2010.
Since then, a spectrum of events, ranging from movie weeks, operas, and Chinese language classes, to language speaking contests and multimedia teaching programs, have induced a positive resonance in Russia.
Through the spate of activities, the Russian people have had a chance to learn more about the Chinese culture, literature, history and its current life, said Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov.
For instance, the first group of 500 Russian students visited the Chinese cities of Beijing, Dalian and Qingdao in August, where they painted both countries' landmarks, including Tian An Men Square, the Great Wall, the Kremlin, the Volga River and the Red Square, on a 10-meter long banner.
When the Russian students returned, they took part in a photo and essay contest, namely "China Impress," to expressed their admiration and affection for China.
Moreover, Russians, in particular young people, have become more and more interested in learning the Chinese language, thanks to the colorful nature of Chinese Language Year events, Zhukov said.
To date, more than 130 universities in Russia are offering Chinese courses. More than 40 state universities and 20 middle and primary schools have also established Chinese as their first foreign language.
A total of 17 Confucius Institutes and three Confucius Classrooms are located across Russia, from the far-eastern port of Vladivostok to the Volga city of Kazan, are receiving more than 24,700 Russian students.
Like the spring rains that moisten gently and silently, the Chinese language and culture are becoming gradually popular in Russia, said Pei Yufang, education counselor of the Chinese embassy to Russia.
As a diplomat who has worked in Russia for eight years, Pei told Xinhua that she definitely could feel the increasing popularity of the Chinese language and culture among Russian people.
"More and more Russians begin to enjoy Chinese food and opera, watch TV programs to learn Chinese, and travel in China. In this sense, the language years have built us great confidence on the long-lasting friendship between China and Russia," she said.
Against the backdrop of the flourishing development of the China-Russia overall ties, cultural exchanges between China and Russia and their two peoples, boosted by the reciprocal language years, are expected to remain as the vital force to advance their bilateral ties in the future.
"Although the Chinese Language Year is near its end, Chinese learning has just started in Russia," said Sergei Luzyanin, first deputy director of the Far East Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2010)