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Keynote Speech by Ambassador LIU Yuxi on the UN Chinese Language Day Online Celebration

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Good morning!

It gives me great pleasure to meet you online and address the Chinese Language Day Celebration jointly hosted by the Mission of China to the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. This year marks the 12th Chinese Language Day since its first celebration took place in 2010, and it is also the third time that our Mission and ECA jointly organized such an event. As the Covid-19 pandemic is still severe worldwide, this year’s celebration was decided to be held online. First, on behalf of the Mission of China, I would like to thank ECA for its initiative on this event, and the Center for Ethnic and Folk Literature and Art Development, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, as well as the Confucius Institute at Addis Ababa University for their great assistance.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The sixth solar term "Grain Rain" of the Chinese 24 solar terms is in memory of a mythical figure Cang Jie, who is said to invent Chinese characters about 5,000 years ago, so the United Nations selected April 20th as the Chinese Language Day. Chinese is the language used by the largest population in the world and one of the six working languages of the United Nations. About one fifth of the people in the world use Chinese as their mother tongue. Chinese language and characters are rooted in traditional Chinese culture, and serve as an important means to bring Chinese culture to the world, thus making positive contribution to the development and progress of human civilization. China is one of the four ancient civilizations in the world, and has created many world cultural heritages such as the magnificent Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors. Chinese civilization has witnessed more than 5000 years’ historical changes, reflected the deepest spiritual pursuit of Chinese nation, and is the source of development and prosperity of China. Chinese civilization highlights peace, harmony and inclusiveness. The concepts "harmony is a virtue", "harmony in diversity", "harmony with nature", "in distress, maintain one’s own integrity, in success, commit oneself to the welfare of the society", have been passed down from generation to generation.

At present, the Chinese language is increasingly becoming the bond that links the friendly relations between China and Africa and promotes the mutual understanding and trust between Chinese and African people. In 2018, at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward "Eight Major Initiatives" to strengthen Chinese support to Africa, of which "people-to-people exchanges initiative" is an important aspect. China has provided about 120,000 government scholarships to African countries, built 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries, established a media cooperation network between China and Africa, continued to promote the construction of cultural centers between China and Africa, and supported more African countries to become the destinations for Chinese visitors. Chinese philosophy and literature, Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese cuisine, and traditional Chinese medicine are increasingly welcomed and loved by African people.

Diversity spurs interaction among civilization, which in turn promotes mutual learning and their further development. We should strengthen exchanges and mutual learning among different countries, nationalities and cultures in the world, and consolidate the humanistic foundation for building a community of shared future for China and Africa and for the mankind. The theme of AU this year is "Art, Culture and Heritage". China is willing to continue the close exchanges and cooperation with the African side, promote mutual learning of civilizations to benefit the Chinese and African people and make greater contributions to the peace and development of the world. I’m fully confident that the next FOCAC to be held in Senegal this year will become a new starting point for cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa in the post-pandemic era.

Today, we will present a lecture on the protection of China's intangible cultural heritage, learn about the African youth’s experience of learning Chinese language and culture, listen to Chinese traditional folk music, watch Chinese dancing performances, painting and calligraphy exhibitions online. I hope you can experience the charm of Chinese culture in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. Our Mission is willing to continue to work closely with all parties to deepen exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa in various fields.

Thank you again for participation. I hope you will enjoy today's program.

I wish the Chinese Language Day Celebration a complete success!

Thank you all!

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