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Home > Embassy News > 2010
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Signing and Inauguration Ceremony of the Confucius Classroom at the St Mary's Primary School
21 October 2010, St Mary's Bryanston Square CE Primary School, London

Ms Beverley Jullien,

Councillor Nick Yarker,

Mr Len Clark,

Mr Peter Hadfield,

Counsellor Le Aimei,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Boys and girls,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the inauguration of the Confucius Classroom at St Mary's Bryanston Square CE Primary School. I wish to offer my warm congratulations to all of you.

I have been to many secondary schools and universities in this country since my arrival in London. But St Mary's is the first primary school I have ever visited. It has a special bond with the Chinese Embassy, as some of my colleagues' children study here. I'm glad to say that they are enjoying their time at St Mary's, learning English and other subjects and making friends with teachers and classmates.

I once asked them which they like better, attending school here or in China. I got mixed answers. Those children who have newly arrived prefer their old schools in China, while others who have been here longer liked their British schools more. Maybe as they grow up, they would like both. I would like to thank the City of Westminster and St Mary's for their longstanding support and assistance to the Chinese Embassy and for providing kids of the Embassy a wonderful and memorable place to study in.

Today the bonds between St Mary's and China have been further strengthened thanks to the new Confucius Classroom set up by St Mary's and the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine at LSBU, the London South Bank University. This is the 54th Confucius Classroom in the UK and the 7th one established by the LSBU Confucius Institute. I must thank the LSBU for its consistent efforts to promote mandarin learning in Britain and to increase mutual understanding between China and the UK.

Why are the Confucius Classrooms so popular in the UK? I believe this is mainly because they serve the following purposes:

First, teaching mandarin. In China, English learning is now compulsory from the very first year in primary school right to university. I'm also glad to see an emerging "mandarin fervour" in this country. Mandarin is now being taught in over 500 primary and secondary schools, and some of them have made it a compulsory course. In September 2009, the British government made Chinese another GCSE subject. The Confucius Classrooms offer high quality and professional mandarin teachers, who are able to meet growing needs of learning mandarin.

Second, introducing Chinese culture. Language is not only a means of communication, but also gives learners an extra pair of wings to get over the cultural barriers. The Chinese culture is both old and new, old in terms of its profound roots in our time-honoured history, and new in the sense of China's fast development and change. It is like a book that makes very interesting reading.

Third, deepening the friendship between our peoples. Friendship is based on mutual understanding. The presence of Confucius Classrooms at British schools will go a long way in strengthening the friendship between our peoples and will sow the seeds of China-UK friendship in the hearts of the younger generation.

As Confucius said, "Knowledge is good to learn, better to love, and best to enjoy". I would encourage students at St Mary's to learn, love and enjoy the Chinese language and culture, and as you grow up, to carry on the friendship and cooperation between our two countries.

Last but not least, Counselor Le Aimei and I would like to present the Confucius Classroom with a TV set, a DVD player and some books and DVDs about China. Hopefully they will make your mandarin and Chinese culture lessons easier and even more interesting.

Thank you.


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