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Sinologist program expands to keep pace with demand

By LI WENFANG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-05-15 18:45

China has expanded a visiting program for foreign Sinologists to accommodate more participants this year, with over 200 expected to attend.

Sessions of the program, hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, will be held in Chongqing; Guangzhou, Guangdong province; Beijing; Shanghai; Xi’an, Shaanxi province; and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in May, July and September, said Zhu Qi, deputy director of the ministry’s Bureau for External Cultural Relations.

Several sessions of the program have been organized since 2014, receiving 289 Sinologists from 81 countries, he said, adding the expansion of the program is in response to growing demand.

A session organized by the Guangdong cultural department and Guangzhou’s Jinan University at the university on May 12 attracted 31 participants from 25 countries, including Britain, Ukraine, Russia, India and Brazil.

The 21-day session includes lectures and field visits in Guangzhou, with topics including the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, traditional culture and contemporary China, Cantonese culture, and Chinese history, as well as linguistics, literature, politics and international relations, and the Chinese economy.

Prabhat Kumar, assistant professor at the Central University of Gujarat’s Centre for Chinese Language and Culture in India, said he is studying the culture of overseas Chinese around the world.

Overseas Chinese from Guangdong, numbering more than 30 million worldwide, account for about 60 percent of the total.

With some lingering misconceptions about each other, India and China “are not fully aware of actual conditions including cultural heritage, economic ties, sociopolitical situations, national traditions and local customs”, Kumar said.

“More people-to-people contacts, academic and scholarly exchanges, and exchanges between cinematic artists and other popular cultural platforms are ways to enhance mutual understanding,” he said.

Okeke Tochukwu Innocent, a lecturer at the University of Abuja, Nigeria, who teaches Chinese history and Sino-African relations, described the program as multicultural with participants coming from various countries.

He expects to deepen his knowledge of China, which will benefit his students back home.

The session held in Guangdong — a province at the forefront of China’s reform and opening-up — also provides “an opportunity to learn more about how these policies have benefited the world and Africa, especially in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative”, he said.

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