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Craze for Chinese Language Study Spreads Worldwide


       Craze for Chinese language study is spreading all over the world. Especially in 2002, Chinese is growing into a global popular language second only to English.

       As the international community is attaching ever-growing importance to Chinese, a language used by the largest population in the world, the number of people studying the language has gone up year by year. According to an international forum on Chinese language teaching held in August 2002 at the Beijing Language Study University, more than 2,100 universities and numerous primary and secondary schools and non-governmental institutions in 85 countries have launched Chinese courses. Latest materials indicate that nearly 30 million foreign students are studying Chinese.
       Like the gigantic industry created by Chinese people's English study, the new-round global craze for Chinese study has started up a colossal Chinese teaching industry. Governmental and non-governmental Chinese language teaching institutions oriented to foreigners have emerged continuously. In 2002, Beijing alone netted 900 million yuan from Chinese language teaching for foreigners.
       More than 300 Chinese universities have established Chinese colleges or Chinese teaching centers oriented to foreign students, with a combined faculty of 5,000. The Beijing Language Study University, with the longest history, enrolled a total of 410,000 foreign students during the decade between 1992-2002. The enrolment reached the pinnacle of growth in recent years, with the total number of foreign students exceeding 240,000 during the five years between 1997-2001, or 150 percent more than the previous five years. In 2002 alone, the enrolment exceeded 60,000, a rise of 10 percent on the previous year.
       The specialties majored by foreign students have expanded from Chinese and traditional Chinese medicine to science and technology, economics, management, law and other applied courses, forming the pattern of Chinese plus specialty. The number of people receiving academic credential education has increased on an annual basis, with that of master and PhD students growing quickly. In terms of the nationality of students, Japan and the Republic of Korea come first, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam and other Southeast Asian countries, and then by North American and European countries.

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