A bridge for better shared future

 With more than 40 years of reform and opening up, China has grown to be the second largest economy in the world. Last year, The Chinese government has declared that absolute poverty has been completely eliminated. 

by Qi Zhenhong 

21st Chinese Bridge Competition preliminary round in Sri Lanka successfully concluded at the University of Colombo today. Ambassador Qi Zhenhong congratulates all contestants and wish them good performance representing Sri Lanka in the World Finals and to act as envoys of China-Sri Lanka friendship. 

The following is the full remark by Ambassador Qi:

It is a great pleasure to join you here today at the Awarding Ceremony of the 21st “Chinese Bridge”: Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students (Overseas Preliminary Round) in Sri Lanka.

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka I would like to extend my warm congratulations to the contestants who are from universities across Sri Lanka. You have won the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka in the World Finals in China. 

I also want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the University of Colombo for your thoughtful arrangements for today’s award ceremony. My heartfelt thanks also goes to the teachers and volunteers from the Confucius Institute at the University of Colombo and several other Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classroom in Sri Lanka who have over the years taught the Chinese language and brought the Chinese culture to the Sri Lankan people. Your hard work has brought closer the two peoples in particular the younger generations and consolidate the public support and social foundation for the development of China-Sri Lanka relations. I thank you very much and look forward to your continued contribution to the people-to-people exchanges between our two countries.

This year’s competition takes the theme is: “One World, One Family”, is fully in line with this overwhelming historical trend in a highly interdependent world. In today’s world, the future and destiny of all countries are closely connected. The world has become a global village where our interests are intertwined and our economic and social progress interconnected. To promote common prosperity and development in today’s world, we have no choice but to pursue greater connectivity and integrated development. 

Under these circumstances, the call for “one world, one family” urges all the countries in the world to: replace the old mindsets of “zero-sum game”,“I win you lose” and “the winner takes all” with the new concept of win-win for all, promote exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations in the spirit of “harmony without uniformity”, and strive for consensus, tide over difficult times and support one another in achieving our common goals. By working together, we can build a community with a shared future for mankind. By working together, we can create a brighter future for the world.

As we all know, language is the key to the door, is the carrier of culture and tool for communication. Acquiring a new language means obtaining a key to more friends, a new world and more beautiful future. Learning Chinese is like opening the door to Chinese culture. You can gain much insight into the Chinese people’s way of life, behaviour, values, national psychology and character. As well as contributing factors for China’s economic and social transformation in the past few decades.

Language is also a bridge of friendship between different countries and nations. Literally, 汉语桥 (in english is Chinese Bridge) means Chinese language is a bridge. This bridge will lead you to a colourful China. At more than 5,000 years, the Chinese civilisation is the only continuous one of the four ancient civilisations, and much of it can be attributed to the invention and wide use of the written characters in the Chinese language. Just like Samuel Johnson, the writer of A Dictionary of the English Languag, said, “Language is the dress of thought”; “words are but signs of ideas”. 

With more than 40 years of reform and opening up, China has grown to be the second largest economy in the world. Last year, The Chinese government has declared that absolute poverty has been completely eliminated. That means nearly 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty in China since 1980. China has made a major contribution to global development. China is committed to peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation, mutual learning and integration with other countries. At the same time, it feels strongly about the diversity of civilisations. We believe that the world needs to seek harmony in diversity. We need to enhance mutual understanding through greater knowledge about each other’s language and culture. Only in this way will the world be a more harmonious and a better place. 

I am very pleased to see that there has been a growing enthusiasm for learning the Chinese language here in Sri Lanka over recent years. More and more Sri Lankan people have gained a deeper understanding of China through learning the Chinese language. I think this is what the “Chinese Bridge” competition is about. This year marks the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic ties and the 70th anniversary of the Ruber-Rice Pact. Over the past decades, China-Sri Lanka friendly relations have stood the test of time. China-sri Lanka friendship has grown stronger with the passage of time. The future of China-Sri Lanka relations lies in the hands of the youth. The seeds of peace and friendship are most likely to take root in the hearts of our young people. If young people in both countries can master each other’s languages, the future of China-Sri Lanka friendly cooperation would be promising and bright. If we all work hard and support each other, we can build bridges between hearts, we can build bridges for cultural exchanges and we can build bridges of friendship and cooperation.

The Chinese Embassy will continue to support Chinese learning here in Sri Lanka, as well as the exchanges and cooperation between our schools and universities. With the hope that you will be able to act as envoys of China-Sri Lanka friendship as well as participants and facilitators in the cooperation between our two countries.

In conclusion, I sincerely wish all the Sri Lankan contestants best of luck in the World Finals in China.