China, Arab countries see deepening people-to-people exchanges

2022-12-08 07:54:40Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Five years after Mahmoud Fattouh came to China for a doctorate in ethnology at Ningxia University, the young Egyptian now speaks fluent Mandarin.

"For me, learning Mandarin in China was an afterthought, as it is difficult," Fattouh said. "However, Chinese students in Cairo left a good impression on me and inspired me to come to the country."

Lin Haolang, a junior at the School of Arabic Studies at Ningxia University, chose to go westward. In early November, he started a one-year exchange program at the University of Algiers 2 in the African country of Algeria.

"I often met Arab people on the streets who greeted me warmly in Chinese and students and teachers on campus who expressed a strong desire to visit China," Lin said.

China and Arab countries have a long history of friendly exchanges featuring cooperation and mutual benefits. Over recent years, the two sides have witnessed flourishing people-to-people exchanges in education, culture, and health.

According to a report on China-Arab cooperation in the new era, which was issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier this month, China has since 2013 trained 25,000 talents for Arab countries and provided about 11,000 government scholarships to the nations.

Meanwhile, 15 Arab countries have set up Chinese departments in universities, and 13 Arab countries have established 20 Confucius Institutes, said the report.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Arab countries have helped each other with measures, including mutual assistance with anti-virus materials, online exchange of experience, and cooperation in clinical trials and joint production of vaccines.

Shanhaiqing, also known by its English title Minning Town, is a popular Chinese TV drama series about the country's poverty alleviation efforts. It will soon be aired in Arab countries, joining other Chinese dramas in opening a new window for Arab people to understand China.

In recent years, with deepening academic exchanges between China and Arab countries, many students and teachers have acquired better language skills and taken the initiative to serve as promoters for exchanges between the two sides, said Jin Zhongjie, deputy dean of the School of Arabic Studies of Ningxia University.

The school has trained more than 1,000 undergraduates, postgraduates, and doctoral students since 2003, and more than 100 of them now work in Arab countries.

Many international students from Arab countries have also come to China for further education and stayed here after graduation to pursue their careers.

After graduation, Essam Adam Ahamed from Sudan worked as a translator in China, where he also enjoyed experiencing traditional Chinese cultural elements such as paper-cutting, calligraphy, and dumpling-making.

This year, he participated in translating Minning Town into Arabic, a gig that helped deepen his understanding of China.

"I learned about the lives of ordinary Chinese in the 1990s and how they lifted themselves out of poverty over the years," he said. "I was inspired by the Chinese people's relentless spirit of pursuing better lives."

Lin, the Chinese student in Algeria, hopes to make full use of the coming year to learn more about the country's culture and social life.

"Though I don't have a clear idea for my future career, I believe that the Arabic language I learn will play an instrumental role," he said. 


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