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Remarks by Chargé d'Affaires Zhao Lijian at the See-off Ceremony of 2017 International Chinese Language Teacher Training Programme

(23 July 2017)

Your Excellency Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman of Higher Education Commission,

Ms.Sabrina Durrani,

Distinguished teachers,

Dear friends from Chinese and Pakistani media,

Good afternoon! Aslam Alegum!

Welcome to the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan. Today we happily gather here to see off 40 Pakistani teachers to Beijing, to participate in the 2017 International Chinese Language Teacher Training Programme. This Programme of 15 days is sponsored by Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (BMCE). This is the third year that the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan has sponsored the Pakistani participants, in collaboration with BMCE and Beijing International Education Exchange Center. Here I would like to take this opportunity to convey the best wishes of H.E. Ambassador Sun Weidong and Madame Diana Bao to you. Madame Bao has made a lot of personal contribution to make this programme possible.

China and Pakistan are dear friends, trusted partners, good neighbors and iron brothers, weathering all storms together and sharing all the weal and woe. Both sides enjoy all-round cooperation in the fields such as trade and investment, security, culture, education and people to people exchanges.

In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to Pakistan. His visit ushered China-Pakistan relations into a new stage of grand and vigorous development. Both leaders agreed to uplift the bilateral relations to all-weather strategic cooperation partnership, which is unique in China’s foreign relations. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor namely CPEC has been progressing comprehensively and entered into the stage of early harvest. It has become the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, and a new symbol of our deeply-rooted friendship.

Standing at this historic juncture, it is the common responsibility of the people of two countries to pass on our friendship and bring more substance to our all-weather strategic cooperation. In doing so, we need the involvement of people of all walks of life. We need more and more people to work as envoys for the betterment of understanding and friendship among our two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Language is a bridge among different cultures, a bridge to bring our hearts closer to each other. Chinese is the official language of China, and one of the six official languages in United Nations. Today there are nearly 1.5 billion people in the world who speak Chinese as their mother tongue. More and more people around the world are learning Chinese with personal interests and for better job opportunities. By the end of 2016, 511 Confucius Institutes have been established in 140 countries. Nearly 70 countries have included Chinese in their national education systems.

Both the Chinese and Urdu are featured by their own culture and civilization. If you could master the Chinese language, you will get a better understanding of the essence of the Chinese culture and the way of thinking, thus you can better communicate and work with Chinese friends.

Nowadays, the Pakistani friends are more eager to learn Chinese than ever before. Thanks to CPEC and our all-around cooperation, we need a large number of bilingual talents who could well understand both Pakistan and China. The Chinese government is working all out to promote the teaching of Chinese language and Chinese culture in Pakistan. Now, there are 4 Confucius Institutes and 1 Chinese Culture Center in Pakistan. In addition, we are encouraging more Pakistani students to study in China. Last year, there were 18,000 Pakistani students in China, making Pakistan the No.4 country in term of the total number of foreign students learning in China. Among them 5,081 students are studying with Chinese government scholarships. Pakistan is the No.1 country in number of students with Chinese government sponsored scholarships.

And besides that, we are encouraging the teaching of Urdu language in China because we believe it is far better to have communication in a mutual way. According to my acknowledgment, now there are 7 Universities in China that teach Urdu.

Dear friends,

Pakistani teachers shoulder greater responsibilities to teach young students about China and our friendship. This Training Programme is more than a language training course, it is also a good chance to get a picture of Chinese culture and Chinese way of thinking. Just now, Mr. Asghar shared with us his experience last year and the book he wrote based on this trip. I appreciate his efforts in introducing China to more Pakistani friends.

For the passing 3 years, the Chinese Embassy has sent 160 teachers to China under this programme. The teachers we have invited are from all the provinces and districts of Pakistan. We will continue effort to spread our friendship across Pakistan.

Dear friends,

The exciting trip will start this evening. Please share with us your footprints and ideas in China lively by social media like Tweeter, Facebook. I believe you will all be the Envoys of Friendship between our 2 countries after this programme.

May I wish the Training Programme a great success.

Chin Pakistan Dosdi Zindabad!

Thank you!

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