China / Society

Capital's foreign language festival promotes learning

By Zheng Xin ( Updated: 2012-06-18 21:19

The Beijing Foreign Language Festival 2012 kicked off on June 16 at Beijing Chaoyang Park to encourage people to get involved in foreign-language learning in the capital.

Under the theme "practice Beijing spirit, promote communication in foreign languages and boost cultural development", the two-day festival this year will serve as a platform for language lovers to communicate and share experiences, according to Zhao Huimin, director general of the Beijing's Foreign Affairs Office.

"The flagship event has become language-learning platforms for residents, language learners and foreign nationals in Beijing," said Zhao. "The festival has not only improved people's language skills, but also lifted their overall ability for international communication while fostering a good language environment for the development of the city."

Jointly organized by the Organizing Committee of Beijing Speaks Foreign Language Program, the Foreign Affairs Office of the Beijing Municipal Government and the Publicity Department of the Beijing Municipal CPC Committee, the festival has been held 13 times since 2002.

To encourage participation and interaction, the committee added new items such as "Foreign Language Challenge Games" and "Do Your Own Dubbing".

Book donation stands have been set up in the park where visitors can donate language books and learning aides to schools and communities in the outskirts of Beijing, to improve learning conditions in rural places, Zhao said.

According to the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program's organizing committee, the number of people who speak a foreign language has grown from 3 million in 2002 to 5.5 million today, 35 percent of the city's permanent residents.

Some 700 community-based language training centers and 400 language corners have been set up in the capital.

"We have published local standards for English translation of public signs, menus, organization names and official positions," Zhao said. "All these moves will make the capital a more international city."

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