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Over 74,000 student volunteers serve Beijing Olympics
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More than 74,000 Chinese students have been working and will work as volunteers for the ongoing Beijing Olympics and the following Paralympics, a Chinese official said on Friday.

A total of 400 million young Chinese have also been taught with knowledge about the Olympic Games, making it the world's largest educational campaign to promote awareness of the Olympics among youngsters, said Vice Minister of Education Zhang Xinsheng.

These programs will help young Chinese learn and practice the spirit of the Olympics, Zhang said at a media briefing in Beijing.

Zhang said 53,000 student volunteers were serving the Olympic Games between Aug. 8-24, and 21,000 students would be volunteers of the Paralympics in September.

While briefing on international exchange and cooperation, Zhang said China has become a new destination for overseas students, with 1.23 million foreign students having come to China to study language, culture, engineering, social sciences and medical science.

Meanwhile, China has opened over 260 Confucius Institutes in 75 countries and regions to offer Mandarin classes, Zhang said.

The number of people studying Mandarin outside China in the past 30 years has reached 30 million, he said.

Some Confucius Institutes have also become involved in assisting the Beijing Olympics, he said.

For example, the Confucius Institute in Auckland, New Zealand, was assigned by the country's national Olympic committee to provide language and culture training for New Zealand athletes and coaches attending the Olympics, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2008)

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