Learning Chinese language helps Americans know different world

Updated: 2014-05-14 13:12


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"The ancient China has a great saying which is there is nothing on heaven to fear, there is nothing on earth to fear, there is only one thing to fear that Kevin Rudd is still speaking Chinese," the former Australian prime minister began his speech in such a humorous way.

Rudd was speaking at the three-day 2014 National Chinese Language Conference in Los Angeles that concluded Saturday.

Known that most of the 1,200 audience are educators, especially those who teach Chinese in America, Rudd expressed his thanks and honor to them."Because your position is much more important than mine or any one else who comes from the official class. Because the future really does lie in your hands."

Rudd, who grew up on a farm in rural area of Australia, shared with the listeners his story about learning Chinese.

In the small country town where he lived in his early life, there was only one school of less than 200 kids and four teachers.

One day, his mother, a simple country woman, gave him a local newspaper with a large photograph in which a Chinese delegate took his seat for the first time at the UN Security Council. And she said to him: "This is important for the world. Remember this day, and think about it in the future."

The picture and his mother's words aroused Rudd's interest in China. When he finished high school, he went to Sydney and met members of the Chinese community there for the first time. Then he became "slowly familiar with the warmth of their hospitality, the importance in their lives of centrality of family, the essential nature of community, and the veneration for an action culture."

"Very soon I became deeply and profoundly interested in this part of the world," he said. He studied at the Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in Chinese history, Chinese literature and Chinese philosophy and he became proficient in Mandarin.

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