World / China-Vietnam

Student masters test of character

By Zhao Xinying in Beijing and Huo Yan in Nanning (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-06 07:50

Chinese characters have gained a reputation of being difficult to write well, even for many Chinese. But for the majority of expatriates, it seems as though there is little difference between the characters and drawing.

This is why a large number of Chinese Internet users expressed their admiration after the neat and beautiful Chinese handwriting of a Vietnamese student was posted by her teacher on his microblog.

Le Thi Thuy, 20, grew up in Vietnam near Ho Chi Minh City - formerly Saigon - and is now a sophomore majoring in the Chinese language at Guangxi University in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Although she started learning Chinese and practiced writing Chinese characters only 13 months ago, Le's handwritten characters have been praised by netizens for their "pretty look".

Some netizens of a similar age to Le, who have been learning and practicing writing characters since childhood, commented that Le wrote much better than they did.

Meng Ruisen, Le's Chinese language teacher at Guangxi University, who posted her handwriting online, said he has been teaching international students for 10 years and it is the first time he has seen such good Chinese handwriting among his foreign students.

Liu Shibiao, a calligrapher and member of the Shaanxi Calligrapher's Association, said Le's handwriting contains a sense of the traditional style of Chinese calligraphy. This indicates that she is not imitating the writing, but has some understanding of the structure and meaning of the characters.

"It's not easy for Chinese people in their 20s to reach this level (of handwriting), not to mention foreigners," said Liu, who is also a calligraphy tutor.

Le said she first took up the handwriting solely with the intention of making it easier for Chinese teachers to read her homework. She never thought it would attract so much attention.

She said she acquired her skills by watching online video lectures on calligraphy, joined the campus calligraphy association, practiced two hours a day and asked Chinese friends for suggestions on how she could improve.

"Chinese characters are really beautiful," Le said, speaking in fluent Mandarin. "I feel a strong interest in them."

Liu, the calligrapher, said he is concerned that the handwriting of Chinese people, including children, is deteriorating with the increasing popularity of computers and the Internet.

"An increasing number of schools nationwide are assigning homework to students on mobile devices, which is limiting the opportunities for children to practice their handwriting," Liu said.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics