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Bangladesh Sees Mandarin-Chinese Fever


With Chinese president Xi Jinping set to make a stop-over in Bangladesh as part of his current international tour, its expected cultural ties between China and Bangladesh will be highlighted.

CRI's Zhao Jianfu on some of the people who are currently working in Bangladesh to expand Chinese culture into the country.

Seven years ago, China Radio International helped establish an on-air Confucius Classroom in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

At the very beginning, it was able to serve just 25 students.

Today, demand for Chinese language and cultural learning in Bangladesh now demands a classroom that seats 60.

Classes offered in Dhaka include primary, intermediate and advanced Chinese language learning for the 180 students currently registered.

One of those learning Chinese is Shila, who says it was necessity which originally drew her into the program.

"I'm working in a Chinese company. I feel I need to learn Chinese because my Chinese colleagues and also my boss can't speak English. Communication problem. I'm planning to work long-term with Chinese people, because I like working in a Chinese company and working with Chinese people, because they are talented, interesting. They are famously strong in the world. So I want to build relationship with Chinese people for a long time. And next time I want to do business with Chinese people. I'm trying my best to learn Chinese language."

Xie Nan is the coordinator of the Confucius Classroom in Dhaka.

He says the courses not only teach the students Mandarin, but also help provide practical experience for them as well.

"This year we're sending eight of our students to study in China. They are all from poor families. One of them is extremely diligent and bright. Having learned Chinese for only a year, his abilities easly surpass most of the students who have learned their language skills in China. The eight students heading to China have won a full scholarship to further their studies."

Aside from offering language courses, the Confucius Classroom in Dhaka is also the only certified institution which provides training for Chinese martial arts, better known as Kung Fu.

Zhou Yuwen is a Kung Fu coach sent by the Chinese government to Bangladesh three years ago.

She says her time in Bangladesh has been a wonderful experience.

"Why have I been happy and content in Bangladesh through these years? It's basically because the local people are friendly to Chinese people and respect us as teachers. I know I have a responsibility here, which is to provide teaching and communication skills to allow people in Bangladesh to better understand Chinese Kung Fu culture."

While modern ties between China and Bangladesh only date back to 1970's, historical links between China and the region that is today's Bangladesh date back to the Tang Dynasty.

In the early 7th century famed Chinese monk Xuanzang visited the Bangladesh region during his travels, which later became the inspiration for the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West."

For CRI, this is Zhao Jianfu.



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