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Consul General Ma Zhanwu Attends Inauguration of India's Confucius Classroom

On 28 November 2017, Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the Peoples’ Republic of China in Kolkata, attended the inauguration of India’s first Confucius Classroom, which was set up in Kolkata by The School of Chinese Language in Kolkata in cooperation with Yunnan Normal University from China. Around 300 people were present at the function, including Honorable Shri Dinesh Trivedi, Member of Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament and former Union Minister for Railways; Professor Maria Fernandes, Member of West Bengal Commission for Woman and Vice President of the TMC Women’s Affairs Committee; Shri Suranjan Das, Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University; Mr. Madan Saraff, President and founder of The School of Chinese Language in Kolkata, and Ms. Charisma Saraff, Principal of the School; Ms. Sun Ying and Ms. He Yinhua, representatives from Yunnan Normal University; Consuls Li Suyun and Zhang Jing; as well as principals, teachers and students from various schools in Kolkata.

During his speech at the gathering, Consul General Ma expressed his warmest congratulations on the inauguration of the Confucius Classroom, and paid tribute to Mr. Madan Saraff, his daughter Ms Charisma Saraff and their colleagues from Yunnan Normal University for their initiative and hard work in launching the institution. He also shared his thought on how this had been possible in Kolkata, saying that the ties between China and Eastern India dated back hundreds of years before and were increasingly strong and cordial. He mentioned the first sugar factory set up in Kolkata suburbs by a Chinese in the year 1771 and the fact that Kolkata still has the largest Chinese community among the cities in India. The growing trade between China and Eastern India and the increasing interest of Chinese companies in investing in this part of India have further led to the development of the relations. And lots of Indian business people visit China frequently and are willing to learn some Chinese. The students who study the language will also have better prospects in the years to come. Mr. Ma said he hopes that more and more people will learn the Chinese language so that it can contribute to expansion of exchanges and cooperation between the two great countries. It is also his hope that the friends from the Indian central and local governments will extend full support to the Confucius Classroom, and more people can come and study Chinese at this institution. In conclusion, the Consul General gave his best wishes to the school and said he would pray for further development of China-India friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation in the months and years to come.

Mr. Trivedi thanked Mr. Ma and all those who have contributed to the start of the Confucius Classroom, saying that the Chinese Consulate has played an important role in making the initiative possible in Kolkata. He expressed his appreciation to Mr. Ma for the efforts by his Consulate, including sending winners of the Best Durga Puja Pandal Competition to China for exchanges. He indicated that the trade between China and Eastern India has been growing steadily over recent years, and he paid tribute to the Honorable Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee for her contribution to the well-being and development of the state by encouraging development of ties with other parts of the world. He believes that the State Government as well as the ruling TMC Party would be happy to see the Confucius Classroom succeed in promoting Bengal’s cooperation and exchanges with China.

Professor Fernandes said she was sure that the setting up of the Confucius Classroom will further promote the cultural exchanges between Eastern India and China, and further narrow the gap between the Indian and the Chinese peoples. She also indicated that she would start her own Chinese classes here soon.

The Honorable Shri Subrata Mukherjee, Minster of Public Health Engineering of West Bengal State Government, sent a message of congratulations on the inauguration of the Confucius Classroom.

The Hongde Sports Association from the Tangra Chinese community staged a dance of lions and then a dragon dance. The students from the different schools presented a recital of the Confucius quotations in the Chinese language followed by a flash Mob dance.

Over 40 journalists from PTI, Times of India, the Telegraph, Indian Express, the Statesman, El Samay and other mainstream media in Eastern India were present to cover the event.

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