Chopsticks, kunfu, green tea, Jackie Chan…these are usually the things that many people living in the West will mention when asked of what they know of China.
With the recent boom in the economy- China has become an idol in the world. The Chinese culture is being learned, tasted and experienced almost everywhere in the world.
According to Hanban website official figures, there are about 30 million people learning Chinese as a foreign language around the World today; and that number increases every day. The reason for this is simple – Chinese is growing in importance in world affairs. It is widely used in business transactions, travel, and it opens new doors to learn about Chinese literature and pop culture.
There are currently about 240,000 foreign students in China today, according to Xinhua.net. The students are coming from 190 different countries, as opposed to 60 years ago when there were only 20 international students from about three East European countries. Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are the three most popular cities for study in China. Some of the most popular choices for university education among foreign students include Beijing Language and Culture University, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University and the University of International Business and Economics, according to Tsinghua.net.
Speaking of Chinese pop culture, Chinese cinema is becoming increasingly popular in many countries. Beginning with Jackie Chan in the 1980’s, then, in the late 90s to the early 21st century, the avalanche of Chinese film and movie talents started moving to Hollywood. More audiences around the World are becoming familiar with names of Chinese producers such as Zhang Yimou Chen Kaige and directors such as John Woo (Face Off; Broken Arrow), Lee Ang. Many people around the world are familiar with films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wohu Canglong), the second most successful was Hero (Yingxiong), and then Fearless (Huo Yuanjia). In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Bruce Lee began to make movies for Hong Kong and Hollywood. Martial arts movies became an increasingly popular trend with Jackie Chan.
Chinese traditional martial arts such as kungfu and wushu are also a new trend in many Western countries. There are special kungfu schools around Europe. For example, in Holland, there was a very popular Kungfu school originally opened, by Li Peng, a young Chinese boy. He said that over his time there, he had hundreds of students, some of which later opened their own schools. East Asian Martial Arts are becoming an increasingly popular trend.
Chinese Medicine is well -known and highly prescribed in many countries around the World. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , has approved a phase II trial of Kanglaite, a preparation made from a staple food-grain in southeast China for curing cancer, according to the Institute of Science and Society. In Europe, the first hospital for Chinese Medicine was opened in Germany in 1990, according to the same source.
“Chinese traditional medicine is a different approach and there’s a deep cultural and conceptual divide between traditional healthcare systems and the mechanistic mainstream model, not a credibility gap”, stated the Institute of Science and Society. Things like acupuncture and Chinese massage are also increasingly popular around the World.
As China’s economy continues to grow, so does knowledge about the country around the World. We continue to see that more people want to learn more about China, and really get a taste of what it’s like.