HomeDiplomatic NewsDiplomacyUN Chinese Language Day honors linguistic heritage

UN Chinese Language Day honors linguistic heritage

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New York, 22 April 2024 (TDI): Cultural events celebrating the 2024 UN Chinese Language Day took place worldwide. Initiated by the UN in 2010, Chinese Language Day is observed on April 20 throughout globe. 

The day aims to celebrate Chinese, one of the six official languages of the UN, and foster global multiculturalism by bridging Chinese culture with the rest of the world. 

According to cultural policy expert Song Weiping, Chinese, also known as Putonghua, is one of the most widely spoken languages globally. The day seeks to enhance the international communication value of the language. 

Song highlighted that the celebration extends beyond April 20, with events taking place worldwide throughout April. 

Cultural events focused on “Chinese language and mutual learning” occurred in various countries across South Asia, Europe, and Africa.  

UNESCO hosted a five-day exhibition at its Paris headquarters showcasing Chinese calligraphy, ink painting, and folk mythology featured in children’s picture books. 

Representative Yang Xinyu of China to UNESCO emphasized the unique role of children’s picture books in showcasing the charm of the Chinese language and culture, fostering global connections, particularly among children. 

Simultaneously, musical events featuring Chinese folk songs, such as “Hundreds of Birds Worshiping the Phoenix,” were held at the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON), Kenya.  

UNON Director-General Zainab Hawa Bangura highlighted the significance of these events in deepening global understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture. 

Linguistic analyst Liao Xufeng noted the cultural richness embedded in Chinese characters, reflecting Chinese cultural philosophy, customs, and worldviews.  

He emphasized the role of Chinese language learning in understanding Chinese perspectives, noting its popularity not only in Africa but also in nearby Asian countries like South Korea, Thailand, and Nepal. 

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At an event in Kathmandu, Nepal, Chairman of the Nepal Language Commission Gopal Thakur highlighted the Chinese language’s growing importance in employment and expressed strong support from the local government for its promotion. 

In Latvia, the launch of the “Panda Chinese” textbook, written in Chinese, Latvian, Russian, and English, aims to further promote Chinese language learning. 

Additionally, the 2024 UN Chinese Language Day was celebrated at Beijing Language and Culture University, welcoming over 300 overseas students from various countries, including Japan, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. 

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