China's development brings about Chinese language popularity in Egypt

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Dec 10 15:57:37 UTC 2008

China's development brings about Chinese language popularity in Egypt  2008-12-10 04:40:14

    by Yu Zhongwen

    CAIRO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- "China has witnessed rapid progress in
the past 30 years since it adopted the policy of reform and
opening-up," and its growing influence in the international community
brings about a new round of "Chinese language fever" in Egypt, Hassan
Rajab, a Chinese language teacher at Ain Shams University in Cairo,
told Xinhua.

    Rajab, one of the first Egyptians who learned Chinese language in
the 1970s in China, was deeply impressed by the changes China
experienced in the past three decades.

    Rajab studied in China for the first time in 1986 and then
continued his study in 1992 and 1997 respectively.

    Recalling his almost four-year study in Beijing, Rajab said he was
surprised by the progress China has made.

    "There was few high buildings and large mansions in the 1980s when
I was in Beijing for the first time," Rajab said, adding "But numerous
skyscrapers erupted in the Chinese capital when I traveled to Beijing
in 2003, the last time I visited Beijing."

    In the first years of China's reform and opening-up, the standard
of living in Beijing was also not very satisfying, said the Egyptian
teacher, adding that people usually went home directly after daily
work since there were few means of entertainment in those days.

    Rajab, besides his study in Beijing, also visited a number of
Chinese cities including Shanghai and Guangzhou in recent years.

    These Chinese cities developed in an amazing way and the level of
modernization almost reached that of the cities in Europe and America,
said Rajab.

    China has realized rapid economic growth and comprehensive social
development since 1978 when the country approved the policy of reform
and opening-up, which deserves study of developing countries, added

    "It has become more and more popular to study Chinese language in
Egypt, which is different from the time when I began to study Chinese
in the 1970s when few Egyptians learned Chinese language," said Rajab.

    As time went on, the bilateral friendly ties between China and
Egypt also reached a new phase in various sectors including trade,
investment and educational cooperation.

    According to statistics, the volume of bilateral trade between
China and Egypt has reached some 5.3 billion U.S. dollars as of
October, a 44-percent increase compared with the same period of last

    By the end of this July, some 570 Chinese companies have invested
in the Northeastern African country.

    In addition, more and more Egyptian students choose to study
Chinese language as the bilateral ties ushered into a new phase.

    Up to now, there are five Egyptian universities including Ain
Shams University that have established Chinese language departments.

    At a ceremony in late November marking an annual "China Day" in
Ain Shams University, Egyptian student Ihab Samir said he has a plan
to establish a tourism company in China to enhance tourism cooperation
between the two countries.

    Samir, who spent one year in 2007 in Beijing to study Chinese
language when he was a junior, said it's a good job to become a
Chinese-language tour guide in Egypt in recent years as more and more
Chinese people came to visit Egypt, a popular tourism destination in
the world.

    Meanwhile, two Egyptian universities set up Confucius Institute, a
model of educational cooperation between China and world countries, in
recent years.

    In mid March, the Confucius Institute of Egypt's famed Cairo
University held a ceremony to celebrate the opening of its first
Chinese-language class.

    The Confucius Institute in Cairo, established last November, was
jointly run by Cairo University and China's prestigious Peking

    The institute, which is the first in Egypt and northern Africa,
offered a series of Chinese language programs to Egyptian learners and
also provide training programs to Chinese language teachers for
primary and middle schools as well as colleges.

    In April, an unveiling ceremony for the Confucius Institute of
Egypt's Suez Canal University was held in the Egyptian city of
Ismailia, some 120 km northeast of Cairo.

    "It's China's development that attracts more and more Egyptian
students to study Chinese language," said Rajab.

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