Craze for learning Mandarin

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu May 26 13:16:02 UTC 2005

>>From China Daily, May 26, 2005

    Mandarin craze spreads in West

China Daily  Updated: 2005-05-26 05:42

The current craze of foreigners learning Chinese is because of China's
peaceful development and the unique charm of its culture, says an article
in People's Daily. An excerpt follows: A few days ago, a Confucius college
opened in Stockholm University in Sweden, offering Chinese language and
culture courses. It is the third such school outside China, and as
reported, there will soon be around 100 such schools around the world to
facilitate Chinese language teaching.

These schools are being established to meet the needs of more than 30
million foreigners who want to learn Chinese. In South Korea, for example,
many universities have introduced China or Chinese language studies into
the school curriculum. In Europe, where the Chinese language used to be
regarded as a mystery, more and more college students are taking Chinese.
The world is witnessing a 45 per cent year-on-year increase in the number
of people who take the HSK test, a standardized test at State level that
measures foreigners' proficiency in Chinese.

The increase in learning Chinese reflects the fact that China is
recognized by the world as a promising economy and a lucrative market.
Many countries have a strong desire to conduct economic and technological
co-operation and exchanges with China. The so-called "Chinese craze" is
also the result of China's growing influence in the international arena.
China is building up an image as a big nation which shoulders its
responsibilities and cares for the international community.

Foreigners who learn Chinese are also very interested in Chinese culture.
Since China adopted the opening-up policy in late 1970s, many foreigners
have flooded into the country to have a taste of its fabulous cultural
heritage, such as Peking Opera, Chinese martial arts and traditional
Chinese cuisine. Some of them are so fascinated with the culture that they
have decided to learn more about the country by studying its language and

(China Daily 05/26/2005 page4)

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