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Chinese a key language for Belt and Road communication

By Zhao Xinying | | Updated: 2017-05-11 19:22

Mandarin has become one of the most important languages for communication between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, the vice-minister of education said on Thursday.

Tian Xuejun said increasing numbers of people in Belt and Road nations are learning the language, which has played a key role in boosting relations.

"As of March, 137 Confucius Institutes and 131 Confucius Chinese-language study classes had been established in 53 Belt and Road countries, with more than 460,000 people in these countries studying Chinese," he said.

He said international students are ambassadors for exchanges between cultures and civilizations, and that the Chinese government will increase support for students from Belt and Road nations who study in China.

The country has promised to grant Chinese Government Scholarships to 10,000 students from Belt and Road countries each year, which has helped the number of students from these countries grow.

Last year, almost 210,000 students from these countries were studying in China, an increase of 14 percent compared with 2015.

China is also encouraging more of Chinese students to study in Belt and Road countries, Tian said, adding that at least 350,000 Chinese have studied in these countries since 2012.

Last year, 74,000 Chinese students headed to these countries for education purposes, he said.

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