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Ambassador Zheng Zeguang's Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 21st "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Final

(From Chinese Embassy in UK)

2022-06-27 23:03

(London, 27 June 2022)

President Spence,
Professor Hazzard,
Vice-Chancellor Fitt,
Judges and Contestants,
Teachers and Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends:

Good afternoon!

It is a real delight to join you to open the 21st "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Final.

First of all, I would like to, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, extend our warmest congratulations to the 10 contestants who have got through the preliminaries and semi-finals to reach the UK Regional Final today. You are the best!

As I stand before you at this annual fete for fans of Chinese language, three things spring to mind.

Firstly, we have a shared passion for the beauty of the Chinese language. Both China and the UK have long history and splendid culture, are representatives of the Oriental and Western civilisations respectively. Studies by several generations of scholars show that humans began living on the land of China millions of years ago, culture sprouted 10,000 years ago, and the Chinese civilisation dates back to over 5,000 years. The Chinese language is the crystallisation of China's profound and rich history and culture. When you study Chinese, I encourage you to appreciate the beauty of the shape, the structure, the sound and rhythm of this language, and savour its rich historical and cultural connotation. This will help you better understand the past, present and future of the country.

Secondly, we have a shared duty to expand the cooperation between China and the UK. On April 21st, President Xi Jinping replied to a letter from the pupils at the Francis Holland School. In the letter, the President discussed the issue of climate change and wrote, "Everyone living on Earth is part of a big family, and humanity is one community." From combating the pandemic and tackling climate change to promoting economic recovery and handling international conflicts, countries must join hands to make concerted efforts. International politics based on exclusive "coterie" or group confrontation will lead to nowhere. I hope that learning the Chinese language will give you a higher ambition and broader mind, and enable you to be open, inclusive and willing to engage your peers in China and become supporters, participants and contributors in China-UK cooperation.

Thirdly, we have a shared goal to strengthen the bridge of China-UK friendship. China and the UK have different history, culture and social system, and we are in different stages of development. So, it is all the more necessary for the two sides to enhance mutual communication and avoid misunderstanding and misjudge. The good news is, about 400 million people in China are studying English and over 130,000 students and pupils in the UK have enrolled in Chinese language courses. I hope that as you learn Chinese, you will use your language skill to make more Chinese friends and gain a better understanding of the country. It falls upon people like you to strengthen the bridge of mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two countries.

In a moment, we are going to witness together the unveiling of the Plaque of the Chinese Bridge Club. With this, the Chinese language fans in the UK will have a home to meet up or reconnect with one another. Let us extend our warmest congratulations on the launch of the club! And I welcome you all to visit China when the pandemic is over.

Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the teachers, volunteers and people from all walks of life for your devotion to and support for the teaching of the Chinese language without which the "Chinese Bridge" could not have come so far. I do hope you will keep up the good work and go on to achieve even greater success!

In conclusion, I wish the 21st "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Final success, and I wish every contestant excellent performance!

Thank you.

***

On 27June, Ambassador Zheng Zeguang attended the opening ceremony of the 21st “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional Final and delivered a speech. The opening ceremony was also addressed by Michael Spence,the President of University College London,Alistair Fitt, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Chris Hazzard MP, and Xiao Liang, representative of the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK and Deputy General Manager of Bank of China (London Branch). Around 120 guests attended the opening ceremony on site, including representatives from the British Council, the Universities UK, the Executive Office, the China National Tourist Office in London, Cardiff University, some of the directors of Confucius Institutes in the UK, and teachers and students from schools and universities in the UK. The competition was held offline and online combined, with more than 800 audiences watching the competition via video link and YouTube live streaming, including participants' families and friends and Chinese language enthusiasts.

The 21st “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition UK Regional has attracted nearly 100 participants from 15 universities across the UK. Ten contestants from SOAS University of London, Lancaster University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham, Heriot-Watt University, the Confucius Institute at the University of Brighton and the Southampton University, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Manchester, Ulster University and the University of Aberdeen made to the final after fierce competition. William Hart from the University of Manchester, Amani Veronique Kouassi from the University of Birmingham, Jake Mosedale from SOAS University of London, Roderic Morrison from the University of Edinburgh, Luke Reid from Heriot-Watt University, Owen May-Jones from the Confucius Institute at the University of Brighton and the University of Southampton and Kate Ann Maplesden from SOAS University of London won the Special Prize and the First, Second and Third Prizes respectively.

Since its launching in 2002, the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition has attracted more than 1.5 million university students from over 160 countries. In the UK, the Competition has been held for 12 times since 2010 and the contestants have beenoutstandingand achieved quite good results in the global finals.

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