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Opening remarks by H.E Ambassador Wu HailongAt the Reception of UN Chinese Language Day
2014/04/17
 

Your Excellency Acting Director-General Mr. Møller,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

First of all, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all of you for attending this reception.

To celebrate this year's UN Chinese Language Day, the Permanent Mission of China, China Xinhua News Network and UNOGco-organized thetwo week's exhibition,"Picturesque Chinese Character". By showing the origin and development of Chinese characters, we hope this exhibition could inspire your interest in Chinese language, and get to know, understand,maybe like it in the future.

The verified human history dates back to millions of years ago, but the written history is only a few thousands of years.  The written languageplayed an important role in accumulating humanexperience and knowledge, promoting creativity, wisdom and the advance of civilizations. It is fair to say that theinvention ofthe written scriptis an important symbol of the beginning of human civilization.

Due to the powerful and miraculous effects of characters, the births of them were always accompanied with mythical stories in different civilizations. Ancient Egyptians believed that their hieroglyphics was created by Thoth, God of the Moon and Wisdom. In ancient Greek mythology, Hermes, herald of Olympian gods, created the alphabet. According to the Chinese legend, more than 4000 years ago, an official historian named Cangjie created Chinese hieroglyphics.God were pleased and decided to award his magnificent feat by granting his request of good harvests to ease the famine. On April 20thof that year, a rain of grain suddenly fell from the heaven. That day was named Guyu which means "Grain rain", and later became one of the 24 solar terms in Chinese Lunar calendar.In 2010, this day was selected as the UN official Chinese Language Day.

With thousands of years of evolution, Chinese characters, together with Egyptian hieroglyphics, Babylonian cuneiforms, Phoenician alphabet characters, and other ancient charactersprovided a foundation for today's diverse language systems and civilizations. As one of the oldest languages, Chinese languageis being used by the largest number of people in the world and among the six official languages of United Nations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Written Language is avehicle for the inheritance and evolution of civilization, and a bridge between different cultures. With globalization gaining more momentum, there is a trend to learn other country's languages and cultures. As China is increasingly integrated into the world, more and more foreigners are interested in Chinese language and start to learn it. I believe this kind of exchanges will not only promote the common development and prosperity of all cultures,enhance understanding between different civilizations, but also help create a diverse, inclusive and harmonious world.

In conclusion,I wish the 2014 UN Chinese Language Day exhibition a great success!

Thank you!

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