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Cultural exchange bridges gap

Chinadaily / [Photo/VCG] Confucius Institutes in Latin America help raise awareness of Chinese culture and further China’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, said a prominent Argentine political observer.

In an interview with Xinhua, public policy expert and academic Patricio Giusto says: “Latin Americans in general know very little about China. There’s much to learn about this marvelous and millenary culture.”

“Slowly, China is changing that,” says Giusto, who also heads a consulting firm called Political Diagnosis.

“It’s a slow process that will take time” because of “the great geographical distance and that (it) is very different from that of the West,” he says.

Giusto, who received a master’s degree on China studies from Zhejiang University in China, believes cultural exchanges are the best way to bring Latin American and Chinese people closer.

“Calligraphy, art, philosophy and music should be the main pillars of China’s strategy to spread knowledge of its culture in the region,” Giusto says.

“Without doubt, in the long run, China is going to become increasingly more attractive and popular in Latin America. The Chinese New Year celebrations, which draw more spectators each time, are a clear sign of China’s natural attraction,” he says.

Moreover, China’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind has helped spur China’s greater opening up and closer diplomatic ties with other countries around the globe. Latin America’s network of Confucius Institutes are an integral part of that outlook, says Giusto.

“The Confucius Institutes are essential. They are the main centers of Chinese cultural diffusion abroad,” he says.

“In Latin America, there are still relatively few (institutes) compared with other parts of the world, like Europe, Central Asia and Africa. In Argentina, for example, there are only two. There should be many more, since it is the most effective and direct bridge for foreigners to learn about China,” Giusto says.

As of December 2017, there were 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 related courses in 146 countries and regions, according to statistics on the official website of Confucius Institute Headquarters. Some 9.16 million students have studied at these centers. More than 12.7 million people have attended cultural events organized by the institutes.

“The Chinese government must keep in mind the importance of more rapidly expanding Confucius Institutes in Latin America,” Giusto says.

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