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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Attends the UK Regional Final of the 18th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students

On April 6, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and Madam Hu Pinghua attended the UK Regional Final of the 18th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Nearly 700 people witnessed the competition, including David Stringer-Lamarre, Chairman of IoD City, Sarah Chidgey, China and Hong Kong Lead (education sector) at Department for International Trade (DIT) and Shannon West, Principal Consultant at British Council, as well as Chinese and British heads of Confucius Institutes from 26 British universities, teachers and students from universities that have sent entrants to the competition, friends and relatives of the contestants, and representatives from Chinese and British companies and British secondary schools.

At the opening ceremony, Ambassador Liu delivered a speech entitled Build the Bridge of Exchanges and Understanding. In the past 18 years, the “Chinese Bridge” has grown from obscurity to international fame, becoming a brand name for cultural exchange between China and the world. It is not only a “centre of quality inspection” and a “display of excellent results” for Chinese language proficiency, but also a crown jewel of China-UK education cooperation.

Ambassador Liu noted that the Chinese language is a bridge leading to the world of profound Chinese cultural charm. As the Chinese language holds the key to the five-thousand-year uninterrupted Chinese civilization, a good command of it would enable a thorough understanding of the very root of the ideals of good-neighbourliness and harmony in Chinese people’s mind, as well as China’s past, present and future. Language is a bridge for win-win cooperation between China and the UK. Learning the Chinese language has become increasingly popular in Britain. More and more Chinese students choose to study in Britain, which reflect the close bond between the Chinese and British people and demonstrate the vigour of China-UK cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Language is a bridge for exchanges and mutual learning between Eastern and Western civilizations. Both China and the UK have created profound civilizations and many of their values are similar. By overcoming the barrier of language, people could exchange with each other and reach a new stage of better understanding and stronger consensus.

The Ambassador said, “I hope that the ‘Chinese Bridge’ competition would help us break the limits of ability and knowledge, and encourage more people to learn the Chinese language and understand China. This will be an important contribution to advancing the China-UK ‘Golden Era’ and building a community with a shared future for mankind!”

Ten finalists from seven universities competed in the UK final through speeches on selected topics, quizzes, talent shows, and unprepared Q&A., showing their proficiency in Chinese learning and their understanding of the theme “One World, One Family”. They presented their skills in Chinese calligraphy and musical instruments, shared their experience in Chinese language learning and tours in China, expressed their love for the Chinese language and culture. Finally, Gregor Bauer from School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and Ahmad Elmouniery from the University of Leeds won the Grand Prize and the First Prize respectively. Ambassador Liu presented awards to the Grand Prize winner and his tutor, encouraging them to make persistent efforts to achieve good results in the international final to be held in the second half of this year. Afterward, Ambassador Liu and Madam Hu Pinghua joined all the finalists in a group photo.

The highlight of this year’s competition is the participation of enterprises. During the final, the Bank of China and Hanban UK Office launched the Bank of China Talent Training Plan which is committed to sponsoring the Chinese Bridge Competition for the following 10 years and providing the winners with learning materials and internship in financial sectors. Before the final, over 20 Chinese and British companies, including Air China, China Taiping, Sinopec, and Huawei UK, jointly held a job fair for Chinese and English bilingual talents, and provided a platform for Chinese learners to meet potential employers. The organization committee of the competition also held the 2019 HSK exhibition for studying in China. The representatives from 15 renowned Chinese Universities including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China and Fudan University offered on-site consultation services for studying in China. These new measures were welcomed by contestants and Chinese learners. The participating enterprises and universities are also satisfied with the results.

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Since its inception in 2002, the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students has attracted more than one million students from over 130 countries. In the previous competitions, the contestants from the UK have achieved great results and won the global finals several times.

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