China has launched a Web site offering free Chinese lessons and materials to promote the study and use of its language abroad.
The site, called Linese, includes audio-visual presentations, interactive exercises and advice for teachers of Mandarin Chinese, with photographs and descriptions of cultural icons such as the Great Wall, kung fu actor Jackie Chan and basketball star Yao Ming.
The launch of this site comes as a move from China to try and expand its cultural influence along with its growing economic power in the world. China is also setting up a network of “Confucius Institutes” around the world to promote its culture.
The Web site is only in Chinese and English for the time being, but versions in Japanese and Korean are being developed.
Interesting move by the Chinese government that claims that over 30 million people are now learning Chinese as a foreign language and that more than 2,500 universities in 100 countries offer Chinese courses.
I wonder when Arabs will even think about doing something similar. A simple website that teaches Arabic online and a number of cultural centers around the world would be great, but unfortunately, it seems the promotion of our Arabic language and Arab culture is not on any Arab countries priority list.