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   2017-01-19 18:08:37    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Wangxin

University of Johannesburg law professor lecturer and co-director of the Confucius Institute Professor Lyu Jiangao [Photo provided to CRIENGLISH.com]

A University of Johannesburg law professor lecturer and co-director of the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is on a mission to ensure that collaboration between trading partners China and South Africa transcends the economic domain. This, says Professor Lyu Jiangao, will reap many benefits for South Africa; which include having more South Africans learn about Chinese culture and how to speak Chinese Mandarin. ¡°South Africans will get to know more about the Chinese unique culture of food, medicine, tea, Tai Chi, etc. Learning to speak Mandarin well will be helpful when traveling to China and for future job prospects as well as to conduct business,¡± explains Prof Jiangao who has been on this mission since 2015. He joined the Johannesburg based institution of higher learning in 2014 from Nanjing Tech University (NTU).

In celebration of the Year of China in South Africa 2015 the UJ's Confucius Institute aimed to promote further expansion and deepening of existing political, economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges between the two countries. South Africa's Year in China was 2014. Relations between the two countries and the respective institutions have strengthened across many fronts ever since.  Prof Jiangao's work is to promote Mandarin language teaching and the Chinese cultural experience for UJ staff and students, the public, business and government. In June 2015, Prof Jiangao says he led a delegation of UJ Mandarin students to China on a cultural exchange excursion. The students visited the Great Wall of China, the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. They also visited Nanjing Tech University where they learned Mandarin, experienced Chinese calligraphy, Chinese Tai Chi, Chinese martial arts, Chinese magic, Chinese Traditional Han clothes, communicated with students from NTU as well as visited some cultural sites in Nanjing. All the students attended and passed the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) and Youth Learner Test (YCT) organised by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban). Prof Jiangao reveals that the intention is to make this an annual excursion between the two countries. ¡°Plans are already underway for the 2017 leg of the cultural exchange.¡±

In September 2016, Prof Jiangao with UJ's Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) took some 40 UJ staff and students to visit Shanghai, the economic centre of China, and Nanjing. In Nanjing, they not only visited Nanjing Tech University and communicated with the staff and students from the NTU Faculty of Civil Engineering, but also visited the cultural sites in Nanjing to further understand the culture of the city and China. In addition, UJ's Confucius Institute organised their visit to the construction sites of Zendai Group which invested to build a mega-city in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.

Prof Jiangao looks forward to academic research, public lectures, international conferences, and discipline construction. Going into the future, he believes that he will be able to promote further contact between UJ and Chinese communities in Johannesburg and the country. Part of his work at the University of Johannesburg includes the implementation of different Confucius Institute Headquarters¡¯ programmes, such as HSK Test, summer/winter camps to China, Chinese Bridge Competition, scholarships and Confucius China Studies Programme. Also known as the Hanban, the Confucius Institute attaches great importance to the promotion of Chinese language throughout the world, viewing it as an important step to enhancing understanding and friendship, promoting economic and trade cooperation and developing scientific, technological and cultural exchange.

By Andrew Ngozo

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