New Zealand secondary school students compete for Chinese proficiency

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Thirty-four secondary school students from across New Zealand competed for Chinese proficiency in the annual “Chinese Bridge” competition held on Sunday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 junior high school students and 19 senior high school students participated in the 14th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Secondary School Students via video link.

Hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury, the theme of the contest is “Fly High with Chinese”.

Dong Zhixue, education counsellor of the Chinese embassy in New Zealand, said at the opening ceremony that the Chinese teaching program this year has been facing a lot of difficulties due to the border closure that prevents the coming of more Chinese language teachers. However, students have still made lots of progress seen from the number and quality of contestants in this year’s competition.

Chinese Consul General in Christchurch Wang Zhijian said the students’ Chinese proficiency level has been increasing year by year.

“Learning Chinese well will not only open doors to the long and rich Chinese history and culture, help make friends with 1.4 billion Chinese people, but also enable you to become successful in your career development,” Wang said, adding China is the biggest trade partner of more than 120 countries and regions, including New Zealand.

Andrew Turner, Deputy Mayor of Christchurch, said despite current restrictions, the relationship between China and New Zealand is growing in tourism, education, trade, cultural and people-to-people exchange.

“There will definitely be big opportunities in the future for people who have the skills to bridge between New Zealand and China,” Turner said.

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