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UPDATED: 10:49, July 31, 2004
Over 25 million foreigners learn Chinese
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More and more foreign learners are showing interest in the Chinese language, numbering more than 25 million globally, according to a source with the third "Chinese Bridge" world undergraduate Chinese competition.

A Chinese learning upsurge is seen in many European, American and Asian countries today, said one of the people in charge of the competition here Friday.

In Japan, there are more than one million Chinese learners while in France some 100 middle schools have opened the Chinese course with the students numbering more than 8,000.

Along with China's steady development and rising international status, he said, the Chinese language has increasingly drawn the attention of governments and all circles in foreign countries.

China's entry into the WTO in late 2001 and its successful bid for the 2008 Olympics brought about a growing number of foreign Chinese learners, especially from the economics field.

He said that in 2003, 60,000 overseas students furthered their studies in China as Chinese majors. The HSK -- Chinese level test -- had established exam sites in 87 cities of 35 countries, and so far 330,000 foreigners had taken the tests.

The Chinese government has also sent 140 Chinese teachers to 62countries and in 2004, more than 100 volunteer teachers have been dispatched abroad for Chinese teaching.

Source: Xinhua

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