UN celebrates 9th Chinese Language Day

The United Nations marked its ninth Chinese Language Day on Friday at its headquarters in New York.

The United Nations marked its ninth Chinese Language Day on Friday at its headquarters in New York.

This year's celebrations included lectures on Chinese culture, film screenings, panel discussions on education and art exhibitions.

Lectures on Chinese poetry, calligraphy and painting drew UN staff members from around the world, who wanted to know more about the unique Chinese culture.

The event also provided them an opportunity to practice Chinese calligraphy, draw in the Chinese style, and play classical Chinese musical instruments.

Professors and scholars from China's Zhejiang University and Columbia University in the United States talked about education in China in relation to the UN's sustainable development goals.

At the opening ceremony, Liu Zhenmin, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, said Chinese is one of the oldest languages in the world. One of the six official languages of the UN, its importance is rising with China's economic growth and increasing involvement in global affairs.

Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said the Chinese language bears testimony to the evolvement of the UN, as well as the increasingly closer relationship between it and China.

The UN is the most universal, representative and authoritative intergovernmental organization in today's world, while China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the world's largest developing country. "Maintaining world peace and promoting common development are our shared goals," he said.

Today, more and more diplomats and UN staff are learning Chinese and familiarizing themselves with the Chinese culture. Over 10 million people follow the UN on Chinese social media such as Weibo and WeChat, Wu added.

The UN Chinese Language Day is observed on April 20 every year since 2010, celebrating the language's contribution to the world while encouraging more people to learn it.

April 20 marks the Guyu, Grain Rain or "Rain of Millet" in Chinese. The Guyu is sixth of the 24 solar terms in the traditional lunar calendar, the day when farmers start sowing.

It is also the day to pay tribute to Cangjie, an imaginary figure in traditional Chinese lore regarded as the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that when he invented the characters, the gods and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet.

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