On July 23rd, 157 college students from 144 competition divisions in 122 countries around the world were invited to the Confucius Institute Headquarters to participate in the welcoming ceremony of the 18th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students. The semi-finals and finals of the annual Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students officially kicked off.
Zhao Guocheng, Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, attended the welcome ceremony and delivered a speech. He interpreted the theme of this year’s Chinese Bridge "One World, One Family" as "We are all brothers and sisters living in one world", pointing out that this kind of benevolence goes beyond blood bonds. During the thousands of years of development of Chinese civilization, it has helped Chinese people build a world view of “All nations live side by side in perfect harmony”, a social view of “harmony in diversity”, and a moral view of “kindness and benevolence”. Through the bridge of Chinese language, friends from all over the world can present themselves, communicate with each other, draw on others’ experience and contribute to multicultural exchanges in the world.
The contestant representative Dima said in his speech that learning Chinese has exposed him to a new culture and helped him have more comprehensive understanding of China. Dima was the continent champion of the 10th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, and he is expected to achieve better results in this year's competition.
Another contestant representative Baiyang, a travel enthusiast, has been to many places in China to experience Chinese culture. He said that the Chinese language helped him better understand the diversified cultures in the world.
The students visited the Chinese Culture Experience Hall in the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the “Belt and Road” achievement exhibition. They gained personal understanding of the charm of the traditional Chinese culture by experiencing the chime playing, calligraphy, paper-cutting and Beijing opera.
This year’s competition was co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the People's Government of Hunan Province, organized by Department of Education of Hunan Province and Hunan Broadcasting System, supported by Hunan TV (HD), Hunan Mass Media Vocational Technical College and Hunan Educational Television. Based on language proficiency competition and cultural exchanges, the competition is aimed at strengthening the interaction between Chinese and foreign youths and telling Chinese stories.
The competition includes “crossing the bridge” competition (written test, speech, talent show), quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final. On August 22nd, the grand final will be held in Changsha. The global championship, the continent champions and several single championship will stand out, and the top 10 contestants will be awarded the title of “Ambassador of Chinese Language”.
From March to June each year, the “Chinese Bridge” overseas preliminaries have become an important festival for foreign young people learning Chinese. The scale of the preliminaries has expanded year by year, and the number of participating countries and contestants has been increasing. This year, Grenada, Uruguay, Seychelles, Guinea, and Mali have organized overseas preliminaries and sent their contestants to the final in China for the first time.
The Chinese Proficiency Competition series of “Chinese Bridge” includes Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students and Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreigners Across the Globe. Back in 2002, when this competition was launched, only 49 contestants from 21 countries participated in the competition. Now, it has attracted millions of teenagers from more than 130 countries in overseas preliminaries. More than 6,000 contestants from all over the world have come to China to participate in the competition, which is known as the "Olympic" of Chinese language. It has become “a bridge of cultural exchange, friendship, and mind” that connects the world and an important brand in the field of international language and cultural exchanges.