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Globalization takes centre stage at contest
By Liao Meng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-11 06:10

A second-year Nanjing University student, who said he wanted to be famous and thus use his power to help the poor children of migrant workers, was crowned champion of the 10th "21st Century SFLEP Cup" National English Speaking Competition in Beijing yesterday.

Zhu Ling (right), editor-in-chief of China Daily, presents award to Xia Peng, winner of the 10th "21st Century SFLEP Cup" National English Speaking Competition in Beijing April 10, 2005. [newsphoto]
Xia Peng, a 20-year-old English major from East China's Jiangsu Province also received the title of "Most Promising Speaker," which will allow him to compete in the International Public Speaking competition in London in May.

Zhang Jing from China Foreign Affairs University and Zhang A Xu from Hong Kong Polytechnic University took second and third places. Both won two-week study tours to Britain.

To get to the final, they impressed from a field of 60 speakers who addressed the audience on the "The Impact of Globalization on Traditional Chinese Values" in the semi-final from April 8-9.

Xia said he thought globalization was not as much an issue for people in rural China as it was for urbanites.

"Migrant workers and their children do not taste the sweet fruits of globalization as much as we do," said Xia.

In his prepared speech, he called on all citizens of China to preserve traditional culture and communicate more actively with the international community.

Globalization has become a central part of the lives of China's youth. The contestants each had a unique take on the subject. Many talked about how foreign concepts are influencing family ties and most saw globalization as a two-way street that offers China opportunities for development but also challenges cultural identity.

"It is good timing to discus this issue since the nation's capital is welcoming the Olympic Games," said Keith O'hare, an English language teaching expert from Cambridge University, who was one of the judges. "China has a lot to give the world while the world has a lot to give China."

"Throughout the last decade, the contest has grown into more than a competition, it has become a national forum. As Beijing looks to 2008, the theme of this year is particularly fitting," said Zhu Ling, editor-in-chief of China Daily, in a speech before the awards ceremony yesterday.

The Most Humorous Speaker prize went to Xu Hao, a senior student from Suzhou University in Jiangsu Province. The event was sponsored by China Daily and the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. The competition was started in 1996.

(China Daily 04/11/2005 page2)

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