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'Chinese Bridge' contest held in Laos
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Lao students of Chinese language and culture took part in a "Chinese Bridge" contest on Thursday in Laos' capital of Vientiane.

"In order to enhance young China fans to understand Chinese language and culture, China has provided an international stage for them to use their Chinese and show their talent," said Political Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Long Dingbin, in an opening speech.

Twelve final contestants survived the first and second selection rounds, delivering fluent Chinese and showing their diverse talents at the National University of Laos (NUOL) in Vientiane.

The contest, which was the tenth of its kind, covered a wide range of topics from Chinese culture, history and geography, and included a talent show. The finalists performed Chinese calligraphy, Tai Ji, folk dancing and singing, all winning applause from the judges and audience.

Phouthaphone Sirivong, a 20-year-old student at NUOL majoring in Chinese, won the first prize and a place in the final contest later this year in China.

"Chinese is a very important language in the world, I love this beautiful language," Phouthaphone told Xinhua. "I'm proud I won this prize, I'm confident for the final contest in China."

The Laos' preliminary of the "Chinese Bridge" contest was sponsored by the Chinese Embassy and NUOL. Preliminaries are held for non-native Chinese speaking college students in countries throughout the world before the final in China.

Launched in 2002, the "Chinese Bridge" project plays an ever- growing role in promoting the study of Chinese language and global understanding of Chinese culture among young people.

(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2011)

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