Remarks by Ambassador Yu Dunhai at the Online Event Celebrating UN Chinese Language Day

On 20th April 2021, H.E. Ambassador Yu Dunhai, together with H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President Emeritus of Malta and Hon. Justyne Caruana, Minister for Education of Malta, participated in an online activity celebrating UN Chinese Language Day. Here is the full text of Ambassador Yu’s speech:

Your Excellency President Emeritus Preca,

Hon. Minister Caruana,

Dear teachers and students,

It is a great pleasure to attend this online event celebrating the UN Chinese Language Day. Chinese is one of the oldest languages in the world. Legend has it that there was a man named Cangjie who had four eyes. He was able to see the pattern of everything around him and created the ancient characters to reflect what he saw.

Of course, that’s just a legend. According to archaeology, the earliest known form of Chinese writing is oracle bone script. Over three thousand years ago, ancient Chinese people engraved characters on animal bones or shells. They are the origin of the modern Chinese characters, which are the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world.

Think about it: when our ancestors carved the script, they would never have thought that thousands of years later, on an island in the Mediterranean, young people like you are so enthusiastic about the characters they created. To me, that’s the beauty of the Chinese language as it carries the memories and wisdom of the past generations.

Some of you may find Chinese hard to learn, right? Well, it is true that it can be difficult sometimes, but it is also full of fun if you look into the stories behind the characters. Let me give you one example.

The Chinese character 武 means military or force. It consists of two parts: 止, which means to stop, and 戈, which stands for a blade. As a Chinese king in 600 BC interpreted, 武 tells us that the use of force is to stop violence. The ultimate purpose of just warfare is to bring peace and stability to the people. Following this philosophy, the Chinese nation has always been a champion of world peace. We are committed to building a community of shared future for mankind. This example shows how the language can reveal the thinking of a nation.

To truly understand China is a huge challenge, because China is vast and diversified. Learning the Chinese language is always the best way to get started. China has a total area almost as big as that of whole Europe while it has twice the population. China has 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions and 56 ethnic groups. Xinjiang autonomous region is the largest in size, which is 5 times as large as Germany. Guang Dong province is the richest. Its total GDP is roughly the volume of Italy, which ranks No.8 in the world.

China is both old and young. It has 5000 years of glorious history and culture. At the mean time, China is embracing new technologies that are fast changing people’s lives. China has more than half of the world’s stock of new energy vehicles, the world’s largest high speed railway network. The total mileage equals to the Earth's Equator. Mobile payment is very common in China. You can use your mobile phone to make payment for almost everything. I haven’t used cash for many years in China.

As a Chinese poem goes, long distance separates no bosom friends. China-Malta relations have withstood the test of time and are going from strength to strength. I do hope that the young people of our two countries, through learning each other’s language, will become “Ambassadors” of our friendship and promote the mutual understanding between our two peoples. Together, we will make a better and brighter future.

Let me conclude by wishing all of you best of luck in your studies. Thank you.

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