Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Kazakhstan Zhang Xiao:

On December 1, 2018, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, during a visit to the Nazarbayev Intellectual School, urged primary and secondary school students to learn Chinese.

“In the context of globalization, the study of foreign languages is vital. For us, the Chinese language is very important. In Kazakhstan’s foreign trade, the volume of trade with China is 20%. Learning Chinese makes it possible to speak with 1.4 billion people in their language, ” the President said.

For the first time since gaining independence, the Head of Kazakhstan called on young people to learn the language of a friendly neighboring country, which will undoubtedly go down in the annals of the development of Chinese-Kazakh relations.

As the Ambassador of China to Kazakhstan, I believe that President Nazarbayev made this call not by chance. This not only reflects the foresight of the President of Kazakhstan, who is a world-famous politician, but also has an important and relevant significance for both China and Kazakhstan.

First of all, this is due to the need to develop Chinese-Kazakh relations. In the 26 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, political mutual trust has deepened, and close trade and economic cooperation between the two countries is gaining momentum. China has become the second largest trading partner of Kazakhstan and the main source of investment, as well as one of the main export markets for the Made in Kazakhstan brand. From January to October of this year, the volume of trade between China and Kazakhstan amounted to $ 16.35 billion. US$, an increase of 15.3% compared to the same period last year. Practical cooperation between the two countries has moved into the direction of comprehensive and rapid development, the social basis for learning Chinese is becoming more and more solid.

Secondly, this is due to the need for joint construction of “One Belt, one Road”. Over the past five years, China and Kazakhstan have been actively implementing the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the new economic policy of Kazakhstan “Nurly Zhol”, actively promoting cooperation in the field of industrial and investment cooperation and have achieved a number of fruitful results for the benefit of the two countries and peoples. With the continuous deepening of the construction of the “One Belt, One Road” and the expansion of cooperation projects, the demand for Chinese-speaking personnel is growing in the Kazakh market.

Thirdly, this is due to the spiritual rapprochement of the peoples of the two countries. As the Chinese wisdom says, “the relations of states are in the proximity of peoples”, the connection between peoples is an important basis for the development of relations between the two countries, and the absence of language barriers is an important prerequisite for spiritual rapprochement. In recent years, mutual trips of citizens of China and Kazakhstan have become more frequent, cooperation in the field of tourism, education and culture has been developing dynamically, interest in China in Kazakhstan is increasing day by day. Against this background, the interest of Kazakhstanis in learning Chinese has greatly increased.

Based on this, it can be noted that the “boom of the Chinese language” is becoming familiar to Kazakhstanis. Currently, five Confucius institutes are already operating in Kazakhstan, and 14 thousand Kazakhstani students are studying in China. The study and use of the Chinese language in Kazakhstan is becoming a trend.

Indeed, great success has been achieved in the dissemination of the Chinese language in Kazakhstan, but this is far from meeting the needs of the two countries in deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, as well as fully satisfying the great desire of the peoples to understand each other even better. China and Kazakhstan should jointly make efforts to take effective measures in fulfilling the instructions of President Nazarbayev: to give an opportunity to an increasing number of young Kazakhstanis to learn Chinese and get to know China.

First, we must continue to increase the number of Kazakhstani students studying in China. During his visit to Kazakhstan in 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that in the next five years, the Chinese Government will increase the number of scholarships for Kazakhstani students to 200 places. Currently, the instructions of the President of the People’s Republic of China are actively implemented by the Ministry of Education of China. This year alone, more than 100 Kazakhstani students have entered Chinese universities. We hope that China and Kazakhstan, continuing to work in tandem, will create favorable conditions for students from Kazakhstan to study in China, start a career after graduation and the opportunity to apply their knowledge, and thereby contribute to the socio-economic development of Kazakhstan, as well as to the interaction between our countries.

Secondly, we must increase the level of education in Confucius institutes and increase their number. The gradual increase in the number of Confucius institutes, the expansion of the scope of training, and the improvement of the quality of teaching will allow all Kazakh Sinologists to gain knowledge at a higher level. I would recommend creating two Confucius institutes in the future, preferably in the city of republican significance of Shymkent and the newly created administrative center of the Turkestan region, the city of Turkestan. Along with this, I consider it necessary to open a Chinese cultural center in Astana or Almaty as soon as possible.

Third, we must improve the conditions for teaching Chinese in local schools. In recent years, there have been more and more schools opening classes in the Chinese language in Kazakhstan, and the number of their students is constantly growing. However, the technical equipment of these schools and textbooks leave much to be desired. This year, the Chinese Embassy provided the Eurasian National University and the Republican school ” Zhas Ulan “with” Chinese language ” classrooms equipped with modern multimedia complexes and software, and also donated textbooks, computers, projectors and other technical means that facilitate learning in Chinese to primary and secondary classes of local schools. In the future, the Chinese Embassy will continue to work to improve the conditions for learning Chinese, as well as to compile, together with the Kazakh side, a curriculum and manuals on the Chinese language suitable for Kazakh students.

Let’s actively implement the call of President Nazarbayev, build a strong bridge of spiritual rapprochement of peoples through language and jointly create a wonderful future for the prosperity and development of China and Kazakhstan!


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