Guangxi strength­ens ties with ASEAN

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO XINYING

zhaoxiny­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

As one of China’s south­ern gate­ways to the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions, the Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion is lev­er­ag­ing its ge­o­graph­i­cal ad­van­tages to in­tro­duce talent from those neigh­bor­ing coun­tries to pro­mote its de­vel­op­ment.

Since 2010, about 360 ASEAN ex­perts have reg­is­tered for for­eign-ex­pert cer­tifi­cates and are work­ing in Guangxi, ac­count­ing for 12.2 per­cent of all for­eign ex­perts who ar­rived in the re­gion dur­ing that pe­riod, said Jiang Minghong, di­rec­tor of Guangxi’s depart­ment of hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity.

Jiang said the ASEAN pro­fes­sion­als work in three main ar­eas: the teach­ing and re­search of ASEAN lan­guages; the ser­vice sec­tor, in­clud­ing trade, fi­nance and tourism; and heavy in­dus­tries, such as min­ing.

“Guangxi is the only re­gion in China that has borders with ASEAN both on land and sea, so bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in these sec­tors is fre­quent here and in­volves large num­bers of schol­ars and ex­perts from South­east Asian na­tions,” he said.

“These ex­perts are mak­ing con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tions to the de­vel­op­ment of these sec­tors as well as to the nur­tur­ing of talent in Guangxi,” Jiang said.

Jiang said that Guangxi, with the help of ASEAN ex­perts, has been one of China’s most fa­mous and im­por­tant train­ing bases for ASEAN lan­guages, where many trans­la­tors and in­ter­preters at China’s na­tional events with ASEAN come from.

Guangxi Univer­sity for Na­tion­al­i­ties alone has had in re­cent years at least 90 lan­guage teach­ers from ASEAN, in­clud­ing those from Viet­nam, Laos, Thai­land, Cam­bo­dia, Myan­mar, Malaysia and In­done­sia, work­ing with Chi­nese stu­dents to im­prove their ASEAN lan­guages skills.

Zhong Haiqing, Party sec­re­tary of the univer­sity, lauded the teach­ers’ work. “In fact, they are not only teach­ing but also com­pil­ing teach­ing ma­te­ri­als and text­books for stu­dents, mak­ing great con­tri­bu­tions to the teach­ing and re­search of ASEAN lan­guages, as well as the de­vel­op­ment of these spe­cial­ties at our univer­sity,” he said.

Waddy Th­win is one of those teach­ers. Af­ter re­tir­ing from Myan­mar’s Univer­sity of For­eign Lan­guages in Yan­gon, she ar­rived in Guangxi to teach her lan­guage in 2008.

Apart from teach­ing ba­sic Myan­mar lan­guage skills to stu­dents with ma­jors that in­clude trade and tourism, she also com­piles a se­ries of Myan­mar lan­guage text­books on pro­nun­ci­a­tion and con­ver­sa­tion.

Dur­ing her six years at the univer­sity, hun­dreds of stu­dents have grad­u­ated with good Myan­mar lan­guage abil­i­ties un­der her in­struc­tion.

The 55-year-old said she con­sid­ers her­self a Myan­mar “en­voy” to China.

“I al­ways want to pass on more of my knowl­edge to the stu­dents, from lan­guage skills to Myan­mar cul­ture, in the hope that these will be use­ful in their fu­ture work and life, and mean­while be help­ful to the re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and Myan­mar,” she said.

She was con­ferred the Golden Silk Ball Award by the Guangxi govern­ment in 2013 to honor her “in­dus­tri­ous work and great achieve­ment in Guangxi”.

“With the ef­forts made by ASEAN schol­ars and teach­ers, our univer­sity is hav­ing more con­ver­sa­tions and co­op­er­a­tion with ASEAN,” said Zhong, the univer­sity’s Party sec­re­tary.

To at­tract more ASEAN schol­ars and ex­perts to work in Guangxi, the re­gion is tak­ing mea­sures to pro­vide bet­ter poli­cies and ser­vices to them, in­clud­ing sim­pli­fy­ing the pro­ce­dures for ASEAN ex­perts to work and re­side in Guangxi, and set­ting up a ne­go­ti­at­ing mech­a­nism that helps re­solve prob­lems and con­flicts.

“We also fre­quently in­vite ASEAN ex­perts to take part in dif­fer­ent kinds of events held in Guangxi to help them bet­ter adapt to life here,” Jiang, di­rec­tor of Guangxi’s depart­ment of hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity, said.

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