Muslims spread Chinese culture abroad
China’s development earns pilgrims self-dignity: expert
Chinese Muslim pilgrims spread Chinese culture to Saudi Arabian people during a month-long hajj in Mecca and Medina, which experts said demonstrated their increasing national pride and confidence due to China’s development.
During a short stay in Saudi Arabia, Chinese Muslims organized an event on July 31 to teach easy daily Chinese dialogues to staff of a travel guide agency for Southeast Asian pilgrims, the China Islamic Association reported.
The event demonstrated Chinese Muslims’ growing patriotism and national pride, according to Gao Zhanfu, a vice dean of the Beijing-based China Islamic Institute.
Gao, who has visited Saudi Arabia on pilgrimages, told the Global Times on Sunday that he had witnessed how Chinese Muslim pilgrims have become increasingly confident and proud of being a Chinese citizen as China’s development earns them self-dignity.
“It was unimaginable that Chinese pilgrims teach locals Chinese in previous years,” Gao said.
At the event, Chinese Muslims brought Chinese calligraphy, kung fu and Chinese food to share with the attendees.
Dai Junfeng, head of the Islamic Association in Kunming, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, attended the event on July 31.
He told the Global Times that Saudi Arabian people’s knowledge of China has improved through major Chinese projects and the popularity of Chinese goods in Saudi Arabia as well as the two sides’ expanding cooperation in technology and energy.
“This is why we have an opportunity now to promote Chinese culture in Saudi Arabia,” Dai said.
On July 30, Muslims from Southwest China’s Yunnan Province held a patriotic activity in Saudi Arabia to express their love for the country by writing poems, calligraphy and paintings, according to the Chinese Embassy to Saudi Arabia.
The manager of the guide agency said there is a fever to learn Chinese in the Middle East, a first step of getting to know Chinese culture.
China and Saudi Arabia agreed to include Chinese language learning as a curriculum at all stages of education in schools and universities across the kingdom during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to China in February.
The US and European countries used to have huge impacts on the world but now China has become a powerful country as well due to its rapid development, a Bangladeshi employee of the agency said.
“China as a civilized ancient nation is benefiting people around the world by the Belt and Road Initiative. I feel proud for China and want to learn more Chinese culture,” he said, noting that he hoped Chinese Muslims would hold more events to show Chinese culture.
The first batch of Chinese Muslims this year reached Mecca on July 15 from Southwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province.
In 2018, nearly 12,000 people from China flew to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj. Chinese experts estimated that the number would remain roughly the same in 2019. The official number has not yet been released.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and an important religious activity.
The Chinese government dispatched more than 600 staff to serve pilgrims including medical services, dining, traffic and housing, according to the China Islamic Association.