President XI Jinping grants interview to student and teacher representatives of RUC’s joint development of Confucius Institute at University of Helsinki in Finland
(2017-04-10 13:04:12)

On April 4-6th, President Xi Jinping was in Finland on a state visit. This year is Finland’s 100th year anniversary, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki, which was built in cooperation with RUC—Finland’s only Confucius Institute.

Finland’s visit is the first time a head of state has come to visit Northern Europe, and is also President Xi Jinping’s first time on a state visit to the European Union, with already 22 years since China’s previous head of state came to visit the country. China and Finland have announced a joint declaration to establish and promote new ties and partnerships, deepen the friendship between the two countries, and further join hands together to establish a far-reaching impact.

After arriving in Helsinki, President XI Jinping extended his congratulations and warm wishes to the people there in honor of Finland’s 100-year independence. He pointed out that even though China and Finland are separated by many mountains and waters, there is still great amity and friendship among the two countries. Finland was one of the first countries from the West to establish diplomatic relations with China and the earliest to acknowledge its importance. It was also the first country from the West to sign an inter-governmental trade agreement with China. Within these 67 years of diplomatic relations, regardless of what’s happening internationally, Sino-Finnish relations have always had a healthy course of development. In recent years, Sino-Finnish trade, science and technology, environmental protection, humanities and culture, and other areas of cooperation have gradually grown. Currently, both sides are actively constructing new ways of cooperation and forsee new partnerships for the future, facing new opportunities for development in the years to come.

Prior to his visit, President XI published an article in the Finnish newspaper Helsinki Times, entitled “Our Enduring Friendship”. In the article, President XI says the two countries are working to build a future-oriented new-type of cooperative partnership”…He notes that the cooperation between the two nations has “delivered clear benefits to both sides”… and welcomes Finland to take an active part in China’s Belt and Road initiative. He also expressed his hope that China and the EU could make new contributions to global peace and prosperity”….

Confucius Institute at University of Helsinki was hailed as a bridge to connecting two civilizations, China and Finland. Finland recognizes China’s friendship as an important window to its partnership, and in promoting the development of Chinese language in Finland, they have achieved great results, becoming the largest center for Chinese language teaching, HSK exams and research. The Confucius Institute is the teaching school that sets the standards for the five language centers established in Finland, and acts as a place for ethnic Chinese to integrate with Finnish society, while spreading Chinese culture throughout the community, and providing a platform cooperation and exchange in all different domains. Within the past 10 years, there have been great efforts to deepen the friendship between China and Finland. In 2016, the number of students at Confucius Institute has grown to 631, the highest number of students thus far, compared to previous years.

On the 5th, President XI visited with Finnish overseas Chinese representative, employees of China-invested enterprises, embassies and consulates, and Chinese overseas student representatives.

Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki China Affairs Director WANG Hong during a CCTV interview said: “As President XI reflects on China and Finland’s past, I feel warmth and kindness. He encourages us to be sincere, upright, and act as a good model, to work hard to integrate with the local society. As a professor at Confucius Institute and scholar of Finland, our work in the future now has a much clearer direction.”

Finland’s mainstream media also conducted in-depth interviews of the teachers and students of Confucius Institute and observed the classroom teaching. Confucius Institute Foreign Affairs Director CHEN Yuwen said in an interview with the People’s Daily reporter, “President XI Jinping’s visit made ordinary people of Finland feel China is paying close attention to Finland, and thereby hopes to continue to enhance and deepen communication and exchange between the two nations.” Confucius Institute China Affairs Director WANG Hong said that 2016 was the first time that the Chinese language was written into a Finland high school language teaching curricula. A high school student of Confucius Institute said, “A growing number of Finnish students are studying Chinese and paying more attention to China”. Further, some students are in professions that focus on promoting exchanges between China and Finland. In November 2016, Confucius Institute student MA Wei became the Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai, committed to the development of Sino-Finnish relations.

In recent years, China and Finland have gradually established increasingly closer economic and cultural cooperation. Finland’s friendship with China is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. On October 5, 2007, the Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki was unveiled. The Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki provides high quality Chinese teaching, provides teachers’ training and rich cultural activities for the local university and community, and engages in special projects to promote traditional Chinese culture. Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki is a platform for exchange programs and international cooperation developing in law, business, education, and in fields such as international relations between RUC and University of Helsinki. Since 2011, 32 RUC students went to study at the University of Helsinki, and RUC received 20 University of Helsinki students. The University of Helsinki is also actively involved in RUC’s summer programs as one of its partner colleges and universities. Since 2009, a total of 78 students from the University of Helsinki have attended short course programs at RUC. In 2017, RUC will receive 100 Finnish exchange students. The project was proposed by China’s Vice Premier LIU Yandong at the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Finland, designed to enhance students’ understanding of the two nations, strengthen youth exchanges, and promote bilateral cooperation in the field of culture and education.

Since the 1990s, RUC and Finland has maintained long-term friendly cooperation, successively with University of Turku, University of Helsinki, and the University of Lapland establishing good relations and building inter-school student exchange programs. Since 1987, a total of 92 Finnish students graduated or completed courses at RUC. In recent years, there have been frequent exchange visits in areas such as law, business, art, and international relations for international cooperation. Now Finnish students have the opportunity each year to attend RUC or attend summer programs. In September 2013, Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen visited RUC and made a speech.

Related links:

[People’s Daily]Xi’s Visit to Finland to Inject New Dynamics into 67 Years of Diplomatic Ties

[China Daily]Xi set to champion globalization and free trade during visit

[Helsingin Sanomat]Kiinan presidentti Xi Jinping saapuu Suomeen juhlavuoden merkittävimpänä valtiovieraana

[Yle]Chinese President Xi to Visit Finland

[The Diplomat]China’s Belt and Road Enters the Arctic

[People’s Daily]Commentary: Xi Jinping’s Big Diplomatic Move Draws Global Attention

[Daily Finland]3 Decades On, Finland-China Ties Thrive on Innovation

[Helsinki Times]Our Enduring Friendship (Article of Xi Jinping)

[Yle]Analyysi: Suomen ja Kiinan ystävyys on kuin tuulahdus Neuvostoliiton ajoilta

[Uusi Suomi]Mitä Kiina tekee paremmin?

Professor Emeritus Arto Mustajoki’s comment: Xi Jinping herätti yliopistonkin!


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