Education, Culture and Commerce Exchange Between Belgium and China

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Belgium started to formally declare the establishment of diplomatic relations with China on 25th October 1971. But the first history of relation between China and low country could track back to the Chinese Ching Era (1644-1911), which was organized by Ferdinand verbiest foundation in Leuven in September 1995, including the scholars from the other countries of Europe, also North America, Australia, China. This presentation was exploring the relationship between China and Low Countries, including the affairs to the Holland and Belgium.

Many of the topics are dealt with the problems of cultural contact and the exchange, of acculturation and enculturation, the transmission of scientific knowledge, etc. In 1971, before Chinese open up in 1978, Belgium established the diplomatic relation with China for following reasons. First, France established the diplomacy relation with China in the early 1964, which is because in January of 1959, General de Gaulle advocate its Gaullist, which have its policies competing with the United States, which is similar to the role of the Sino-French: a challenge to U. S. hegemony in the global scale which does not tame allies; a obey baton wants to struggle out of Soviet “family members”. So these two countries have common goals towards their governance. Later on, Belgium was follow up France to establish relationship between China. Besides, as a huge population among the east countries, China became a mere object of Western economic interests and power politics.

So thus Europe countries, especially Sweden, Demark, Switzerland, German, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, etc. are the first few countries that establish diplomatic relation between China. On the March 17th, 2005, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met at Brussels, Belgium. Later on Li Zhaoxing also met with Chairwoman of the Belgian Federal Senate Ms Anna-Marie Lizin and Speaker of the Belgian House of Representatives Mr. Herman De Croo separately. To address issue of Chinese achievement of developing recent years, Guy Verhofstadt and Ms Anna- Marie Lizin show their understanding of Taiwan issue and wiliness to actively promote the development of bilateral relation.

Li said the exchange between China and Belgium could embody the tight relationships and hope they both can upgrade more levels and various channels in the future. Also, when mention to the Belgium enterprise in China, such as Janssen, Bekaert, Alcatel, etc. ave settled in China for a long time ago. Chinese citizens are familiar with these brand which represents the long term relationship of the two countries, which Of course those relationship between China and Belgium can represent the China-EU relations, which is also part of the developing relationship between EU – Asia – such as the creation of the ASEM, as you can see the affectability of these two countries’ influential.

This paper will focus on the international relationship between Belgium and China nowadays, including education, culture and commerce areas, from both the perspective of Belgium and China, which I am going to provide several case studies to illustrate the tight relationship between those two countries. Education and its policy are one of the essential methods for countries diplomacy strategies. Thus, there are more and more Chinese students are sending and willing to go to Belgium for higher education. And Belgian students are more and more know about China and curious about Chinese language and culture.

In 2011, there are about 2300 Chinese students in Belgium and 300 Belgian in China. Currently, Belgium has three Confucius Institute. University of Leuven, Ghent University are even have it’s own office on campus, directly promoting the Chinese culture and shows two countries friendly relationship. In the year of 2011- 2012, there are 182 Chinese students study in the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) among the total international students population out of 2600. Which is 7% of the whole international students.

Among those people, there are 5% students pursued post undergraduate certificates, 37% for master degree. 58% pursue for the PhD. There are three strategic partnerships with Chinese educational institutions; firstly, VUB is working on Joint programs, Scholarship programs, setting qualified student & staff exchange, Public events, Cultural diplomacy, Joint laboratory, Cooperation Beyond R&D and education -Technology/Knowledge Transfer. Secondly, finding public recruitment of qualified Chinese students & scholars. Thirdly, VUB is external tight networks within the countries.

There are some privileged partnership between VUB and Chinese higher institutes; most of them are mainly in Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an, but there are still having a growing number in other part of China; Beijing Renmin University, Tshinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tongji University, Fudan University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Northwest Polytechnic University, Sichuan University and Zhejiang University, etc. Besides, China Scholarship Council (CSC) Cooperation located in VUB since 2005, jointly offer doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships to Chinese researchers to VUB.

According to the statistics, there are 29 Chinese PhD students at VUB with CSC scholarship in 2011. Erasmus Mundus scholarship is other scholarship that VUB provide for Chinese student; it is an inter-institutional cooperation with10 Chinese Universities. For More than 100 students at VUB with EM scholarship in the year of 2009-2013. Beisdes Vrije Universiteit Brussels, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven has 421 out of 4402 international students from over 120 countries in 2006, which is 10% out of the international students population. So do University of Gent, universiteit Antwerpen, and Universite de liege.

The increasing enrollment of Chinese students and giving scholarship for Chinese students on large scale can definitely improve the Belgium- China education relationship. However, It is not easy for Chinese students come to Belgium to study because the official language in Belgium are French, Dutch or Germany, so Chinese students should at least acknowledge one of these languages in order to get into these Dutch and French language institutes, which neither one of them is been taught in middle/ high school (except some language- focus schools) in China. As English is the second official language that taught regularly in Chinese schools.

In this case, there are more master degree- pursue/ research students than undergraduate Chinese student in Belgium since they can learn French/ Dutch in college in China and apply graduates school in Belgium, or the person who already for a period and need more specific study. Many of them said that they were choosing Belgium is because Belgium is such an international metropolitan country with lots of expertise coming and going and lots of non-profit organization headquarters, which attracts a lot of Chinese students who interested in these field come to Belgium.

And also Belgium provide attracting programs and there are a lot of scholarship opportunities. Also, the National Fund for Scientific Research is the organization that to provide Belgium Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Belgian Research Foundation academic exchange agreement signed in October 1985. The main projects are to support the annual exchange per month, exchange of information and academic publication, and academic and conference exchange.

All of the exchange programs are minimum three months long. Traditional Chinese culture such as tea, Kong Fu, and Belgium’s beer, chocolate etc. are definitely become an important methods for two countries’ culture exchange. Confucius institute definitely become the first significant tool for cultural exchange, and then we have festivals, China-Belgium culture organizations such as China Belgium art and culture society, TV shows, access between the nation’s seniors talk and visits, etc. an all shows the tight connection between two countries. In 14th April 2011, the first time that Fadilar Laanan, the Belgium minister of culture, visited China, this is an essential time because it is marked the promoting Culture’s relation between Belgium and China. Laanan made an agreement and sign a contract between two countries for cooperation in movie and TV industries. So moviemakers can now enjoy several tax shelter that Belgium government provide for its movie industry.

For example, the Belgium digital graphics animation production company provide its advanced graphics technology for an Chinese animated filmed called Little Big Panda, which is called the most expensive animation in China, about 350 million RMB, which approximately 35 million euros. In September 24, 2012, Chinese chef Yin Yunmin introduces Chinese Huaiyang cuisine, which is originated from east China’s Jiangsu Province, during a Chinese cooking skill showcase in Heverlee, Belgium. Both Belgian’s chefs and citizens are all came and visit the traditional Chinese food.

Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu said China in recent years, the increasingly frequent exchanges in the arts and culture, education, film and television, journalism, publishing, sports and other fields between the two countries, and cooperation between the two countries a series of influential cultural exchange activities, especially in 2009, “China Art Festival “successfully held in Belgium than milestone in the history of cultural exchanges, and laid a solid foundation for further deepening bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation.

Cai Wu pointed out that “China Art Festival” is held, than cultural exchanges between both in the government and the people continue to further develop the overal framework of the two-way interaction “, and achieved fruitful results, and for the further development of bilateral comprehensive cooperation partnership to open up broader prospects. Chinese documentary “tongue” is a Chinese weekly show that describe Chinese food from different areas, will be set in the Belgian national television broadcast in 11:00 on 9th February Belgium local time.

The film became the “stepping stone” of the film and television between two countries, to be followed, there are several Chinese movies, TV shows will be presented for the European audience. As the Glory Century Culture and Arts Co. , Ltd. General Manager in Europe, Yang said, the broadcast copyright is as a gift to Belgium, have no commercial interests, this gift cost is negligible considering the long- term cooperation. Documentary “tongue” of the broadcast in Belgium, in fact, is to serves as a cultural exchange between China and Belgium, which is one of the sub-projects of the Cultural Year.

Before, Belgium has never been the introduction of Chinese documentary film, instead of just the documentary taken by the Europeans about China. This broadcast version was broadcast on the contents of the screen with the domestic version is basically the same, just the audio replaced by French, and the film name called “taste”. Yang revealed that she learned in the communication with the person in charge of the Belgian national television programs, Belgian TV, little is known about the Chinese TV programs do not understand China’s current shooting style and level.

Seen the “tongue” the entire film, the relevant person in charge of the Belgian national television was very surprised, and praised the “very high standard”. In the Cultural Year activities, the Chinese has provided many Chinese movies, TVs, Belgium first pick “tougue”, then also broadcast CCTV Movie Channel production of the film in Belgium. “Naked marriage age”, “too late to say I love you” Chinese TV will also be loaded onto the European screen. From February 9, 2011, Belgian national television set every Saturday at 11 at noon on-demand episode.

February 14, Belgian national television three Thursdays 21:00 replay. Two periods for the local audience viewing habits are considered prime time. Belgian national television premiere on the “tongue” in Belgium attaches great importance to pre-broadcast teasers, interview clips, still television website launched an extensive publicity. Logo election not only premiered in the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Belgian state television also designed a snake with increase in the lower right corner of the documentary.

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