While Russians are losing interest in their culture of speech, the Russian language has been gaining popularity in China, no matter how strange it may sound. The knowledge of the English language is considered very prestigious in Russia. If a Russian is fluent in English, he or she may consider themselves professionally successful. In China, students rush for special courses to study Russian.
The interest in the Russian language has been growing steadily in China recently. For example, one of the most popular TV shows in China is a Russian song contest. It is incredibly hard for a Chinese national to learn how to speak Russian. It is just as hard, as it is for a Russian to learn how to speak Chinese. However, Russian is becoming more and more important in China because the nation's political and economic cooperation with Russia continues to expand every year.
Chinese students say that the knowledge of Russian will help them make from 3 to 5 thousand yuans a month (about $500-800). Such an amount is considered very good earnings for young specialists in the country.
There is nothing surprising about the fact that specialists with the knowledge of Russian are in great demand in China: a great deal of Chinese companies ship their products to Russia. In addition, many Chinese citizens intend to immigrate to Russia.
In 2009, about 40,000 Chinese students and 80,000 schoolchildren studied Russian. About 60,000 adult Chinese understand Russian.
In China, Russian language is taught at the universities of Beijing, Heilongjiang, and Dalian. Many other high schools in the country - about 100 in total - also offer courses of Russian.
There are several organizations devoted to the Russian literature and culture in China. They include the Chinese Association of Teachers of the Russian Language and Culture, the Chinese Pushkin Society and the Association for the Study of Russian and Soviet Literature.
It is not ruled out that Chinese schoolchildren will soon know Russian literature better than their Russian peers. In Russia, students prefer not to read Tolstoy's "War and Peace' or Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin" in full. They read abridged and much shorter versions of them on the Internet.
Reading young people's comments on discussion boards or blogs, one may think at times that they have been written by a foreigner, who studies Russian, rather than by Russian native speakers.
Chinese students say, as a rule, that they do not like to study the Russian language, but they have to do it for their career. However, many of them acknowledge that they like the way the Russian language sounds and eventually become very fond of the subject.
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