(ECNS) -- "I like Sun Wukong (or Monkey King) and Nezha (a Chinese mythological figure), especially the story of Bai Suzhen (the white snake maiden) in the Legend of the White Snake," said Akumad Ripai, who comes from the village of Semarang in Indonesia. Ripai can fluently name many characters from Chinese mythology and finds learning Chinese very enjoyable.
Ripai is a language teacher at Indonesian National Police Academy, with a Chinese name of Li Yafei. Like him, more and more Indonesian public officials are starting to learn Chinese.
On Monday, more than 10 police officers came to the Confucius Institute at Al-Azhar University in Jakarta to participate in Chinese cultural activities. These officers, who usually serve as criminal investigators, special police, traffic police, and community police, experienced Chinese calligraphy, introduced themselves in Chinese and sang Chinese songs.
The dean of the Indonesian National Police Language Institute said that their goal is to train at least one police officer in every police station, substation, and office in Indonesia to speak Chinese.
The institute has trained nearly a thousand police officers in learning Chinese, serving police stations, communities, and other positions across Indonesia.
It's not just Indonesian police officers who are interested in learning Chinese. The Confucius Institute at Al-Azhar University has offered Chinese language courses and participated in developing Chinese language training programs for government officials in various departments such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Trade.
Niu Haitao, Chinese dean of the institute, said that the number of Indonesian public officials learning Chinese is growing due to work needs, reflecting the increasingly close relationship between China and Indonesia.
According to Chinese customs statistics, the bilateral trade volume between China and Indonesia reached $149.09 billion in 2022. China has been Indonesia's largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years. According to the Indonesian Investment Department, Chinese companies' direct investment in Indonesia reached $8.23 billion in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 160 percent, reaching a historical high and ranking as Indonesia's second-largest source of foreign investment.
"It is a very positive phenomenon that public officials are willing to learn Chinese," said Murni, former Vice President of the Al-Azhar University. He believes that as a bridge, language can deepen the understanding of Chinese culture among all levels of Indonesian society.
Murni pointed out that learning Chinese can help him find a better job and even change a person's destiny. China's economic, technological, and cultural development has become increasingly prominent since the reform and opening-up decades ago. As a result, learning and mastering Chinese has become very important.
There are more and more Chinese people coming here to work, travel, and do business," said Li Yafei. From his perspective, public officials learning Chinese can facilitate communication and help more people, especially those who speak Chinese in Indonesia.
In addition, the entry of Chinese companies, technologies, and manufacturing into Indonesian society has also stimulated the enthusiasm and interest of Indonesians to learn Chinese and understand China. Many locals in Indonesia have found jobs in Chinese-funded enterprises through learning Chinese, with relatively decent incomes.