China has had good cooperation with Belt and Road countries in education, culture and think tanks, and looks to generate more of it during and after the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14-15, officials said.
Tian Xuejun, vice-minister of education, said on May 11 that Mandarin is becoming one of the most important languages for communication between the people of China and their Belt and Road partners. It will play a critical role in strengthening the people-to-people bond between the two sides, he said.
“As of March, 137 Confucius Institutes and 131 Confucius Classrooms have been established in 53 Belt and Road countries, with more than 460,000 people in the countries having studied the Chinese language in 2016,” he said at a news conference.
Tian added that international students are ambassadors for exchanges between cultures and civilizations, and China will increase support to students who come to study in China from Belt and Road countries.
China has promised to grant the Chinese Government Scholarship to 10,000 college freshmen from the countries each year, he said, which has helped the number of students from these countries grow.
Last year, almost 210,000 students from the countries were studying in China, up 14 percent from 2015.
Meanwhile, China is also encouraging more of its students to pursue studies in Belt and Road countries, Tian said, adding that at least 350,000 Chinese have done so since 2012, and 2016 alone saw 74,000 Chinese people go to those countries for education.
Tong Gang, deputy director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said China has joined and will continue to join hands with Belt and Road countries to produce films and television programs, enabling both sides to learn from each other and meanwhile facilitating a shared prosperity of cultures.
“We have seen some outstanding works already,” he said, giving several examples that are popular among Chinese audiences, such as Kung Fu Yoga, a film starring Jackie Chan that was coproduced by China and India.
Other examples, Tong added, include Panda and Little Mole, an animation coproduced by China and the Czech Republic, and Clear Heaven, a TV series that involved actors from China and Russia.
To boost communication and mutual development, Tong said the administration in 2014 began hosting the Silk Road International Film Festival. Last year, delegates from 57 countries attended.