Chinese Bridge: Contestants across the Globe Compete, One in a Million Wins the Final

Chinese Bridge 2014, Chinese proficiency competition for foreigners across the globe held.

“If (Zhou) Yu has already been born, why is (Zhuge) Liang to be born?” In the competitive finals, a contestant from America used this Chinese idiom skillfully to describe the intensity of the rivalry between top contestants. His Chinese language proficiency and good understanding of Chinese culture won him rounds of applause.

From June to September, the Chinese Bridge (Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreigners Across the Globe) were held in Beijing. Xu Jialu, Vice-Chairman of the 9th and 10th Standing Committee of the National  People’s Congress and President of the International Society for Chinese Language Teaching, attended the competition and presented awards. Saying to the contestants “One could take the alien land as his homeland, but should not forget his homeland while in an alien land”, Xu sincerely hoped that they should love both their motherland and China.

Launched in May, the competition this year had its preliminary sessions in 13 Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Nanjing, etc., which attracted nearly ten thousand foreigners from 81 countries, including foreign college students in China, foreign elementary and secondary school students, Chinese language learners in Confucius Institutes and foreigners working in China.

After the strict screening in preliminaries, the top one hundred contestants from 39 countries, with their own “Chinese dreams” in mind, went to Beijing for the following competitions. Amani Pouya, a seventeen-yearold Iranian boy who aspired to be a xiangsheng (Chinese crosstalk) comedian in his childhood, has studied Chinese with his parents in the same class. “It is actually quite interesting that my families and I learn Chinese together. I’ve got a better idea of my own Chinese level through this competition, and I will keep working hard.” Said Pouya.

Fair and authoritative, the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreigners Across the Globe is to comprehensively test the contestants’ levels of Chinese proficiency through rounds of contests concerning “listening”, “speaking”, “reading” and “writing” of the language. Questions related to Chinese history, literature, geography and folk customs are also included. The competition is aimed to deepen foreigners’ understanding of China and encourage more people around the world to “discover Chinese character through Chinese character”.

The competition this year had its preliminary sessions in 13 Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Nanjing, etc., which attracted nearly ten thousand foreigners from 81 countries

 Aside from showcasing their language levels, knowledge of Chinese culture and individual talents, the contestants also received guidance from Chinese language experts and scholars on Chinese culture in recitation, hosting, xiangsheng (Chinese crosstalk) and Peking Opera. The competition not only improved their language skills but enabled them to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture.

All the contestants agreed that they had learned a lot in the competition. “I hoped I could improve my Chinese and befriend people who are also interested in Chinese language and culture via the competition, and now both goals are attained.” said Frentz Brendan James, a contestant from Canada. Georgina Mary Haines, an Australian contestant who once studied Chinese at a Confucius Institute and now is in China for further studies on the Confucius Institute scholarship, said, “But for the teachers of the Confucius Institute, I would not  have the faith and  willpower to go this far. I really want to thank them for their encouragement.” “The marathon of the competition has finished, but the marathon of our Chinese learning has just begun.” said one of the contestants, who also spoke out what was in other contestants’ minds.

Sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), this year’s competition will be broadcast through CCTV and reach out to viewers all over the world, offering them a grand gala of Chinese language.


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Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 34. Volume V. September 2014.

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