Libmonster ID: CN-1222
Author(s) of the publication: V. G. BUROV

V. G. BUROV, Doctor of Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences

Moscow City Pedagogical University


Keywords: native language promotion, Hanban, Confucius Institutes, Chinese Language Bridge contest, Confucius Institute magazine, Russian World Foundation

There is no need to talk about the need to preserve and protect the native language in any country, because its loss inevitably leads to a loss of national identity, a break in a person's ties with their historical homeland. As far as the Russian language is concerned, this is all the more important, since, according to the most approximate estimates, there are about 25 million people. Russians and Russian-speakers found themselves outside of Russia as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. In addition, many citizens of the Russian Federation have moved permanently to other countries for various reasons over the past two decades. And this process does not stop.

The Russian language is the main thread connecting our former compatriots with Russia. Although in recent years our country has not played the same role in world politics that it did during the existence of the Soviet Union, as evidenced by the reduction of educational institutions abroad where Russian is studied, and consequently a decrease in the number of students, as, for example, in the United States, nevertheless, interest in the great Russian language is growing. it continues to persist. This means that there is a need for specialists who speak Russian.

Relatively recently, in 2007, the Russkiy Mir non-governmental Foundation was established, whose task is to popularize the Russian language, as well as support programs for studying the Russian language abroad. Over the past 6 years, the Foundation has done significant work in this direction to the best of its capabilities.

Similar organizations have long existed in other countries - England, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, etc.


But the most ambitious among them is the activity of the State (I emphasize - State) Office for the Dissemination of the Chinese Language (in everyday life Hanban), established in 1987. This structure is subordinate to the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, and is headed by an official, or rather an official with the rank of deputy minister.

The State Chancellery is also the headquarters of the Confucius Institutes. Their president is a member of the State Council of the People's Republic of China with the rank of Vice Premier. The 15 members of the Board of the Institutes include 10 representatives of foreign countries; from Russia - a well-known figure in Russian education, Rector of the Moscow State Linguistic University (MSLU), Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, Professor I. I. Khaleeva.

Confucius Institutes are responsible for the dissemination of the Chinese language in various countries, for familiarizing their population and, above all, the intelligentsia with the culture and history of China, and for preserving the native language in the circles of the Chinese diaspora. The fact is that many young ethnic Chinese belonging to the second and third generations of emigrants know only the spoken language, often dialect, but do not speak Chinese hieroglyphic writing.

Currently, there are 435 Confucius Institutes and 644 Confucius Classes in 117 countries around the world. Naturally, they are mainly created in North America, Asia, Europe and South America, where there are significant Chinese diasporas, whose number is constantly growing. Of course, there are also political and economic reasons for creating them. There are 83 Institutes and 18 Confucius classes in the United States alone, and almost all major universities and colleges in the country have them. The second country in terms of the number of Confucius Institutes is the Republic of Korea, there are 24 of them here, followed by England-22, France-15, Japan-12, Thailand-12 (to these should be added the 11 Confucius classes existing here), Germany-11.

Hanban also pays attention to Africa. On this

* Data for September 2013 (approx. author's note).

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There are about 30 Confucius Institutes on the continent. During a recent trip to China, I happened to meet the director of such an Institute in Cameroon. It is known that already now in different countries of the Black continent there are local residents who know Chinese well, as evidenced by their success in various international competitions.

There are 18 Confucius Institutes in Russia, including four in Moscow (MSU, RSUH, MSLU, and the Diplomatic Academy), and one each in Blagoveshchensk, Vladivostok, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Ryazan, St. Petersburg, and Tomsk, Ulan-Ude, Eliste. The number of Russian universities and schools where Chinese is studied as a specialty, according to estimates, has exceeded 250, and there are 25-30 thousand students and students.

(For comparison, the Soviet Union had only a handful of Chinese language learning centers: 2 in Moscow, 1 in St. Petersburg, Chita, Vladivostok, and Tashkent.)

Every year, students from Russia are awarded 1 thousand grants directly through internships and studies in China, which include free tuition, accommodation in a hostel and a scholarship in the amount of $200 - 250 through various lines - Confucius Institutes, the Ministry of Education. In total, the total number of annual grants in all countries of the world reaches 15 thousand. As stated in the Regulations on Confucius Institutes, their purpose is to" .....introduce the Chinese language and culture to the peoples of the world, develop friendly relations between China and other countries, promote the development of a diverse world culture, and make efforts to build a harmonious world."

Confucius Institutes teach Chinese, train local staff of teachers, and conduct exams (for students, course participants, and anyone else) to obtain a certificate certifying the appropriate level of knowledge of the Chinese language - there are six of them in total. Certificates-in English and Chinese - are issued on behalf of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, indicating their level of proficiency in Chinese.

The Chinese government does not spare any money to finance Confucius Institutes; suffice it to say that initially up to $100,000 was allocated to equip each of them with the necessary equipment and literature, depending on the specific economic conditions of a particular country. In the future, the activities of the Institutes are mainly based on self-sufficiency - at the expense of paid Chinese language courses.


Confucius Institutes in Russia also teach the Chinese language and promote Chinese culture. At the same time, they participate in international events held in our country with the support of the Chinese Office for the Dissemination of the Chinese Language and the Chinese Embassy in Russia. Such events include, for example, International conferences on "Actual problems of teaching Chinese as a foreign language", which are regularly held at the Moscow State Linguistic University. The last such conference, the third in a row, was held in October 2013. Its participants were not only specialists from Russia, but also representatives of Confucius Institutes from the CIS countries.

Today, Confucius Institutes exist in all CIS countries: one each in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Moldova; two each in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; and three in Ukraine. Kazakhstan has the largest number of Confucius Institutes - 4, which is probably explained by the economic potential of this Central Asian state, its rich raw materials resources and geographical location. In the 1990s, the number of Chinese language learners in this country did not exceed several hundred. In 2006, after the signing of a special agreement between the two countries, the number of Chinese students reached 3 thousand. In 2010-2011. Kazakhstan is among the top ten countries sending the largest number of students to China. South Korea, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries topped the list. The number of Kazakh students in China during these years was 7874 and 8287, respectively.

During my visits to Chinese universities, I have repeatedly met students from Kazakhstan, who, by the way, speak good Russian. In 2010, 1.5 thousand Chinese students studied in Kazakhstan [1, p. 466]. In 2012, during the SCO summit in Beijing, China announced its decision to train 1.5 thousand specialists in foreign economic activity from the SCO member states within 3 years. In addition, over the next 10 years, China will provide 30 thousand rubles. state grants and grants for training and advanced training of 10 thousand students and teachers from Confucius Institutes operating in different countries [1, p. 467].

I also visited two Confucius Institutes abroad: Berlin and Leipzig, Germany. They are located in large, spacious, well-equipped rooms, their libraries contain several hundred books in Chinese and German on the history and culture of China, including, of course, dictionaries. As I understand it, the Chinese language courses organized by them are attended not only by students, but also by elderly people, as well as teenagers. Local authorities attach great importance to the Confucius Institutes, as evidenced by some funding from the German side. All Institutes have joint management of the educational process; teachers are mainly from China and speak the language of the country in which they work. According to the status of the Confucius Institute, it should be created in another country in cooperation with one of the Chinese universities, which is responsible for its activities.

In this regard, we can give an example of one of the well-known and

page 46

One of the most prestigious Chinese universities is Xiamen University, located in Fujian Province. With his help and assistance, Confucius Institutes were established in 14 universities on different continents of the world - in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In order to better disseminate the Chinese language, the university makes extensive use of the Internet, and 6 centers have been established: an Information Gathering Center that collects international information necessary for the activities of Confucius Institutes; a Training Center responsible for preparing Chinese language teachers to work abroad, creating models and methods of teaching the language, etc.; an Openness Center designed to prepare relevant educational materials for and propaganda materials; an evaluation Center that develops criteria for evaluating the performance of teachers and staff of Confucius Institutes, as well as students; A research center responsible for studying the laws of the countries where Confucius Institutes operate and the education systems that exist in them; A Planning Center whose responsibility is to"create "an international market for teaching Chinese."

Xiamen University not only holds special symposia dedicated to the dissemination of the Chinese language abroad, but also publishes 4 journals: "Teaching Chinese abroad", "Tribune of Teaching Chinese abroad", "International Bulletin of the Chinese Language" and "Journal of Chinese Studies" [2, pp. 69-74].

Confucius Institutes play both an educational, cultural and educational role, as well as an important political role, because through them the public of the country, first of all, the intellectual and political elite in which they are located, get an idea not only about the culture and history of China, but also about the current situation in the People's Republic of China, its domestic and foreign policy. In China, they emphasize that the spread of the native language outside their country is one of the important ways to increase the "soft power" of the Chinese state in the world. By the way, when visiting a particular country, members of the top Chinese leadership do not forget to visit the Confucius Institutes.

Hanban constantly organizes various methodological courses, seminars, and training camps for Chinese language teachers both in China and in countries where there are Confucius Institutes. Textbooks and manuals are published, and if at first they were mainly in English, now they are published in 45 (!)languages. languages, i.e. almost all Western and many Eastern languages.

Every year in December, Beijing hosts conferences of leaders of Confucius Institutes from different countries, where they discuss the results of their work over the past year and plans for the future. The last such conference, held in December 2013, was attended by about 3 thousand people, all expenses for the arrival, departure and stay of foreign participants of the conference were borne by the Chinese side. Recently, such conferences have become increasingly vocal about the need to improve the level of teaching.: "quality is the vital artery of Confucius Institutes", "teachers, teaching materials and teaching methods-three areas for improving the quality of teaching".

According to Dr. Wang Jingbo, a Chinese language teacher at Irkutsk State University, " ... the main task of Confucius Institutes is not only to meet the need for learning Chinese outside of China, but also to promote understanding of Chinese culture by foreigners, develop friendly relations between China and other countries, create favorable conditions for the development of pluralism and building a harmonious world community. The institutes are named after Confucius, and this is no coincidence. Confucius was a great thinker and enlightener of ancient times, who defended the principles: "together, but not the same", "do not force others to do what you consider unacceptable for yourself" [1, p.433-44].


Regularly with the financial support of Hanban in different countries of the world for 10 years now, competitions of students and schoolchildren called "Bridge of the Chinese Language"have been held. Over the past years, several tens of thousands of young people have already taken part in the competition. Winners of competitions held in various countries are eligible to participate in the International Competition, which is held annually in July in the capital of Hunan Province - Changsha. Hanban is responsible for financing competitions in each country and in China itself, including travel expenses.

In May 2012, the Central House of Culture of Railway Workers in Moscow hosted the first All-Russian competition among students "Bridge of the Chinese Language" (previously only regional competitions were held), which was attended by 5 teams representing students from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Vladivostok and other cities. The contest turned into a real celebration for the participants and all the guests, and there were quite a few of them - more than 700. Each participant not only had to" cover " one of the topics on the history and culture of China, answer questions, but also read a poem or prose text.

The entire competition was held in Chinese. Students, professional groups and soloists performed Chinese and Russian songs; among them, of course, were the much-loved "Moscow Region Evenings" in China, as well as dance numbers. At the end of the competition, the winners were awarded awards, including certificates for one-year internships in China.

In May 2013, the second All-Russian competition "Bridge of the Chinese Language"was held with great success in St. Petersburg, at the Hermitage Theater. Just like in the first competition, 5 teams from the cities mentioned above participated in it.

At the end of September 2013, the first All-Russian competition of Chinese language learners was held near Moscow. 20

page 47

In May 2013, the second All-Russian competition among students "Bridge of the Chinese Language"was held with great success at the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg.

teams of three people each represented different cities of Russia-from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok.

The Education Department of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Russian Federation, headed by the enthusiastic Minister Plenipotentiary Zhao Guocheng, played a major role in organizing all these competitions. By the way, the staff of this department provide significant assistance to Chinese language departments in various Russian universities.

Cooperation with Chinese state institutions and universities is important for improving the professional level of young Russian Sinologists. Speaking at an international conference at the Moscow State University of Chinese Studies, Ambassador K. Barsky, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation to the SCO, noted the achievements of Russian educational institutions in the field of training specialists in Chinese, but at the same time pointed out the shortcomings that exist here: insufficient knowledge of hieroglyphics and grammar; poor pronunciation; ignorance of the literary language (Wenyan) by many university graduates; poor knowledge of Chinese history and Chinese classics, and finally, a lack of highly qualified translators, including simultaneous interpreters.

In 2009, the Confucius Institute, a quarterly educational magazine, began to be published, first only in English, and since 2010, publications have appeared in Russian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, German and Thai.

In the "Teacher's Salon" section of the magazine, teachers from China working in Russia share their experience and give useful tips on how to learn Chinese better. The magazine introduces readers to the rich cultural heritage of China, customs characteristic of its inhabitants. Students from Russia share their impressions of visiting Chinese cities and historical sites. The magazine also covers the latest developments in contemporary Chinese literature and art. For example, one of the latest issues contains an article about the new film of the famous director Zhang Yimou "Flowers of War". The film tells about one of the most tragic and terrible pages of Chinese history - the "Nanjing Massacre". When Japanese soldiers occupied Nanking in 1937, they killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese within two weeks. The city has a special museum that tells about the crimes of the Japanese military.

It is in modern Russia, when talking about the great sacrifices suffered by the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War, they often forget to say that these victims are not only the result of military actions or miscalculations of the Soviet military, but also to a large extent the result of the atrocities of the German fascists. Apparently, this is due to a false understanding of the need to maintain tolerance in relations between Russia and Germany. We need to learn from the Chinese here, too.

The Confucius Institute magazine is richly illustrated and published in an easy-to-read format; it has a circulation of 30,000 copies and is distributed free of charge. It publishes information about the activities of Confucius Institutes in different countries. Currently, about 50 million people study Chinese all over the world. Given the growing economic and political weight of China in the global community, it can be assumed that in the future their number may exceed 100 million. In any case, izve-

page 48

It is noteworthy that the US government has allocated several thousand grants for American students to study Chinese at universities in China.


If we compare the scale of activities of Hanban and the Russian World Foundation, they will, alas, not be in favor of the latter. Of course, a lot depends on funding, but in my opinion, it's not just that.

China is fully aware of the importance of spreading its native language. It is not surprising that the head of Hanban is responsible only for this area of work, and in Russia V. A. Nikonov is the chairman of the Russian World Foundation, in addition, he is also the dean of one of the faculties of Moscow State University, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education, head of the Politika Foundation, etc.

And one more point, which, apparently, should be paid attention to. Government organizations in other countries, such as Europe, responsible for the dissemination of their native language, bear the name of their famous writers, known all over the world, for example, in Germany - the Goethe Institute, in Spain-the Cervantes Institute, and in China - the Confucius Institute. The name of Confucius is a kind of brand, a brand, as they say now.

I think that we, too, in Russia, should create not just nameless Centers and Russian Language Classrooms, but Institutes of, say, Leo Tolstoy. I'll explain why.

During the Soviet era, there were also Russian Language Study Centers abroad, mainly in socialist countries, and they were then called the Pushkin Institutes. They worked with dignity, I judge by my personal impressions, because I happened to visit such an Institute in Vietnam in the early 1980s.

But today, in my opinion, it hardly makes sense to give the name of Pushkin to Russian Language Centers abroad. Although, according to Zhukovsky's fair remark, " Pushkin is our everything."

"Everything" is for us Russians. As for the citizens of other countries, the name of Tolstoy means more to them than the name of Pushkin, because his poetic works are less known to the world readership than Tolstoy's novels and novellas, which have been translated into many foreign languages, and his novels "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" have been repeatedly filmed in the West. Therefore, the creation of Tolstoy Institutes will undoubtedly arouse even greater interest in Russian culture and the Russian language.

The author is grateful to Mr. Zhao Chunlu, an employee of the Education Department of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Russian Federation, for the materials provided.

1. See: China at the epicenter of global problems in the Asia-Pacific Region // Abstracts of the XX International Scientific Conference, Moscow, 2013. IDV RAS. (Kitai v epitsentre globalnih problem ATR // Tezisi docladov XX Mezdunarodnoi naucnoi konferenzii. M., 2013.)

2. Di shi jie shijie huayu wenjia-xue yantaohui hui'i shouce (10th International Conference on Teaching Chinese Language and Literature. Conference Directory). 2011. Taipei.


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