Chinese students watch British peers perform in Mandarin on London stage

By Angus McNeice in London | China Daily UK | 2017-07-14 17:08

Chinese students watch British peers perform in Mandarin on London stage

Bristish students perform in Mandarin at the Dynasty Art and Culture Exchange Exhibition in front of more than 30 Chinese students in London on July 12, 2017. [Photo/]

Students from China were treated to a variety show on Thursday that included traditional Chinese folk dancing, songs, and short plays performed in Mandarin by British children.

The show was part of a new education initiative, the Dynasty Youth Exchange, which aims to deepen understanding among youths and therefore support the future China-UK relationship.

The exchange, which was launched last year, brings Chinese students, or"little diplomats", to the UK, where they attend classes and live with British host families. Parents fund the exchange, which will soon feature a bursary to support the participation of poor children.

Dynasty is a UK-based biotechnology company that invests in life science projects that link Europe and China. The company's chief executive Simon Haworth came up with the idea on a business trip to China.

Haworth said: "I am always shocked by how much time I spend, each and every week, unraveling cross-cultural misunderstandings between my colleagues and friends in the UK and China. I firmly believe that it is China's turn now on the world stage and that links and interactions with China will be the most important influence on the lives of today's children in the UK."

Li Xiaopeng, personal assistant to the minister counselor for education in the Chinese embassy, said: "Empathy between people is the key to state-to-state relationships, so, from the government's perspective, this kind of program will help to build up the relationship between our two countries."

Three British schools performed at the Dynasty Art and Culture Exchange Exhibition in front of more than 30 students from Anhui province and Shandong province.

Students from St Catherine's College performed a song in Mandarin followed by a traditional Chinese folk dance choreographed and taught by members of the Confucius Institute at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Pupils from Kingsford Community School-one of the first in London to add Mandarin to its curriculum-wore traditional costume to perform a play in Chinese.

And Carisbrooke College on the Isle of Wight shared a video of an exchange with students from Shanghai, including calligraphy lessons and interaction in the school dining hall. Li Zihan, a 15-year-old from Anhui province, said: "I was really surprised at how good their Mandarin was. It was a really high level."

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