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A Chinese Lesson on Goodwill Between Friends from Afar

Apr. 5, 2019

HSK 3 quiz

On March, Chinese chairman, Xi Jinping, met with French President, Macron in Nice. During the state visit, chairman Xi received a warm reception as well as a precious gift from the French President.

There is an old Chinese motto, “有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎? (yǒu péng zì yuǎnfāng lái, bú yì lè hū?) Is it not delightful to have friends coming from afar?” And isn’t this situation the truest portrayal of this saying?

The Essential Friendships for Chinese (Elementary)

Before the meeting, Macron presented Xi Jinping with the first French edition of “论语导读 (lúnyǔ dǎodú) Introduction to the Analects of Confucius”, published in 1688, which is really a significant gift.

Macron added that there were only two copies of the original book, one for chairman Xi Jinping and the other one for the French National Museum of Asian Arts (Guimet Museum). Xi Jinping responded that the gift was so precious and significant and that he promised to take it back for collection at the National Library of China.

“论语 (Lúnyǔ) An Analects of Confucius” testifies to the long history of cultural exchanges between China and France and proves that cultural intimacy is a unique advantage of China-France relations.

These days, when speaking of Confucius in France and even in all of Europe, people will naturally think of Confucius Institutes in addition to his Analects.

According to statistics, there have been 131 Confucius Institutes established in European countries. Among them, France is an early country to implement Chinese into the national education system and draw up a syllabus. There are currently 16 Confucius Institutes and 2 Confucius classroom in France, opening an important window for the French to learn Mandarin Chinese and know more about Chinese culture.

Know More About “孔子 (Kŏngzĭ) Confucius”

From reading current event articles, such as this, you can expect to learn the impact of Chinese culture in the scope of international relations as well as the Chinese language itself. Here we have introduced an excerpt of one of the teachings of Confucius.

Key Learning Point:

Yǒu péng zì yuǎnfāng lái, bú yì lè hū?
Is it not delightful to have friends coming from afar?

Culture Background:

This sentence is derived from “论语 (lúnyǔ) the Analects of Confucius,” which is often used to welcome friends from afar.

Although different countries address their head of state using different titles for one another, they still have similar responsibilities of representing their country. For example, In China, the leader is called the “主席 (zhǔxí) chairman,” while in America, it is called “总统 (zǒngtǒng) president.”


主席 (Zhǔxí) chairman

总统 (Zǒngtǒng) president

This news event is significant as it showcases goodwill and respect between the nations. It is also an occurrence that we can all learn from. From it, we learned how much traditional Chinese culture reveres the history of Confucianism, specific political vocabulary words, as well as a beautiful Chinese phrase. If you would like to see more current events used as learning points please leave us a comment and we would be happy to do it more often!

HSK 3 quiz
Please choose the best option to fill in the blank

Jìn lái, Xí zhǔxí duì fǎguó jìnxíng le guóshì ______ .
1. 近来,习主席对法国进行了国事 ______。

A. 访问 (Fǎngwèn)

B. 询问 (Xúnwèn)

C. 拜访 (Bàifǎng)

D. 采访 (Cǎifǎng)

2. What is this Chinese saying “有朋自远方来, 不亦乐乎 (yǒu péng zì yuǎnfāng lái, bú yì lè hū?)” used for?

A. Thank a friend for a gift.
B. Welcome friends from afar.
C. Ask a friend for a present.

See Answer Analysis

General Chinese (Beginner Level)

General Chinese (Intermediate Level)

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