People-to-people exchanges take step forward

Updated: 2012-02-14 07:48


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BEIJING - China is ready to work with the United States to advance people-to-people exchanges, Education Minister Yuan Guiren said in an article prior to Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit to the US.

People-to-people exchanges take step forward


Xi's visit will push such exchanges to a new level, Yuan said, noting that this area will be a particular focus of the visit as the two countries strengthen mutual political trust, and economic and trade cooperation.

The third annual high-level China-US Consultation on People-to-People Exchange will be held in China this year, Yuan said, adding that a number of activities and events are planned.

"Forty years ago, visionary politicians of China and the US took people-to-people exchange as a way to break the ice between the two countries," said the minister.

People-to-people exchange is still an important driving force in today's increasingly close China-US relations, he said, noting that leaders of the two countries often discuss this topic and attend related events.

To boost the partnership, the Consultation on People-to-People Exchange was established in Beijing in May 2010.

Yuan said President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama have always attached importance to, and supported, this kind of exchange.

Since State Councilor Liu Yandong and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired the second exchange in Washington in April, China and the US have reached more than 40 agreements in the areas of education, science and technology, culture, sport, women's issues and youth, according to Yuan.

In 2010, China announced that it would provide scholarships to 10,000 US college students to study in China, implement the "Chinese Bridge" study program for 10,000 US citizens in China, and send 10,000 PhD candidates to the US on Chinese government scholarships.

Yuan said the Education Ministry has been working on these programs since 2010.

By the end of last year, 4,363 Chinese postgraduates have participated in PhD programs in the US, while "Chinese Bridge" scholarships have funded 4,563 US citizens to study in China, and the Study-in-China Scholarship has already issued 2,094 scholarship quotas for US students, according to Yuan.

To enhance educational support to the central and western regions of China, the Education Ministry helped 500 teachers from remote regions pursue advanced studies in the US last year, he said.

The Education Ministry also assisted the "100,000 Strong" plan proposed by Obama in 2010 - a goal of sending 100,000 US students to learn Mandarin in China in the next four years - by helping establish contacts between the US side and Chinese universities.