Cultural exchanges lead the way to understanding

Updated: 2012-10-11 07:17

By Xiong Guang'an(HK Edition)

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Cultural exchanges lead the way to understanding

The year 2012 is truly a year of highlights in the German-Chinese relationship: China is hosting a year of Chinese culture in Germany, while in August the second German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations took place in Beijing, and now in October, both partners celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations with an illustrious ceremony at the National Center for the Performing Arts.

And it is clear that aside from politics and business, it is particularly the cultural dialog that brings people together and which serves as a basis for a better mutual understanding.

Recent data demonstrates the sustained German-Chinese cultural relationship: In the field of higher education alone, there are currently some 650 programs between German and Chinese universities.

So it is no surprise that young Chinese students account for the biggest group among foreign students in Germany, with a total of 23,000 students at present.

As well, about 15,000 young Chinese attend lectures in German language and literature, and 20,000 students study German as a foreign language at Chinese universities and colleges. One long-term goal of German cultural policy is to increase the spread of the German language.

Since people who speak the same language understand each other better, German foreign cultural and education policy is aimed especially at young people. Learning a foreign language increases the interest in the culture of the country.

In the context of the initiative of "Schools - partners for the future," 76 Chinese schools offering German as first or second foreign language are supported.

During the second intergovernmental consultations in August, Germany and China agreed on the organization of a "Year of the German Language in China" and a "Year of Chinese Language in Germany" in 2013 and 2014, which will include a multitude of measures to intensify language and cultural exchanges in Germany and in China.

The celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations will be accompanied by many cultural activities: China hosts a year of Chinese culture in Germany, while Germany presents excellent concerts, performances and exhibitions in China.

Today, the Young Euro Classic Orchestra comprised of an equal number of German and Chinese musicians, performs in the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing on the occasion of the anniversary.

The spotlight of the cultural exchange was the exhibition "Art of the Enlightenment" on display in the Chinese National Museum in Beijing from April 2011 to March 2012, which attracted more than 450,000 visitors.

The exhibition was accompanied by a comprehensive program, featuring round table discussions and guided tours through the exhibition.

(HK Edition 10/11/2012 page8)