The Year of the French language in China (中国法语年) was inaugurated September 13, 2011 at Beijing Language and Culture University, attended by Mr Alain Juppe, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Ms. Liu Yandong, Chinese State Councilor and Mrs. Fu Ying, Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.
According to Mr. Juppe, the event is a moving testimony to the commitment of many Chinese to French, a language of love and poetry, but also a language used in the science and business. “I hope that this event continues to develop the presence of French in China and strengthen exchanges between our two countries,” he said.
“Cultural exchanges are important means to promote diplomatic relations between China and France,” said Liu at the opening ceremony. “Many events will be held in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu, to highlight the diversity of French culture and attract more Chinese and to learn French.”
More than 100,000 people are learning French in high schools and universities in China. More than 3,000 Chinese are studying in France. Dong Qiang, professor of Beijing University, is not satisfied with these figures: “Basically, there are not many Chinese who are learning French, or French who are learning Chinese. This kind of event is absolutely necessary and I hope it will mark a great start to mobilize more people to become interested in languages of both countries. “