Passionate discussion of Korea-China relations at Hongling Chinese Culture Salon
On September 27, 2017, the Hongling Culture Salon, a bimonthly gathering which offers an opportunity for Koreans, Chinese and other residents of Seoul to discuss current issues in Chinese language, held a special meeting on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the normalization of normalization of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea.
The Hongling Culture Salon is organized by the Asia Institute, Kyung Hee University Cyber University and the Confucius Institute of Kyung Hee University. The seminar was our thirteenth such event.
I was tapped to lead an honest and at times, moving debate among the 50 individuals who gathered for the salon. We had much to discuss granted the aggressive approach of the Trump administration towards North Korea and China and the tragic impact of the deployment of THAAD in South Korea over the objections of the Chinese government.
Many attending were Chinese who have lived in Korea for many years, or Koreans who have lived in China for many years, in most cases with husbands or wives from the other country. The speakers expressed both tremendous enthusiasm about the potential for real cooperation in just about every field, a deep sadness that political circumstances had done so much damage, and desire to explore new routes forward.
We were joined by a delegation from Tongji University in Shanghai, incuding Dean Liu Shuyan 刘淑妍 of the International School of Tongji University and Xu Jianping 徐建平, professor of mathematics and Associate Party Secretary. Professor Fang Ping of Tongji University, now the director of the Confucius Institute at Kyung Hee University, made a special effort to go around to each participant and get their perspectives on how we should move forward. Professor Im Kyu-seop of Kyung Hee Cyber University also did the same for Korean participants.
We had a group from the Chinese embassy, lead by Ai Hongge 艾宏歌, Counsellor for Education.
The following day, September 28th, a smaller gathering of Kyung Hee students met to discuss Korean-Chinese relations from their perspective. The following is a description of that event in Chinese and English.
Record of the Chinese Seminar on September 28th, 2017
On the evening of September 28th , 2017, 6:30-8:00, the 2nd Chinese seminar of the series activities “Chinese Language Salon for Chinese and Korean students“ which is sponsored by the Confucius Institute and the Asia Institute, was held in the 327 classroom of Confucius Institute . A total of nearly 20 students from China, Korea, Singapore and Europe participated in the discussions about language learning and cultural experience. The students talked extensively about language speaking skills, dialects, traveling, customs, literature and so on.
At the beginning of the activity, students talked about their original intention of learning two languages. Korean students generally refer to the Chinese language courses at their foreign language high schools as the origin why they learned and became interested in Chinese. Non Korean students studying in Korea were generally motivated by Korean pop culture and chose to study in Korea.
When it comes to difficulties in learning Chinese, Korean students generally say that the “four tones” of Chinese are the most difficult to grasp. Second, the four-character idioms are also difficult to use skillfully. China students and Singapore students mentioned Korean phonetic phenomenon is difficult to use.
When it comes to dialect and traveling, the salon’s atmosphere reaches its highest point. All the students have shown the dialects of their hometowns. The Chinese students demonstrated the Beijing dialect, the Shanghai dialect, the northeast dialect, the Henan dialect, the Hunan dialect and so on to the Korean students. Korean students show dialects of Seoul, Kwangju, Busan and other places. Singapore students have shown the Malay language, which aroused great interest among Chinese and Korean students.
When the topic was travelling, China students said they mainly visited the tunnel business area, while Korean students prefer the humanities, nature and culture. Among the Korean students, there was someone who had even traveled to 34 cities in China; someone had gone to Mount Huangshan; someone even had eaten authentic Lanzhou noodles in Lanzhou, Gansu province.
Finally, the Chinese seminar ended in a perfect atmosphere, students even spontaneously formed friends to do mutual learning in the future.