A Russian language centre opened in Harbin (north-eastern China) on the basis of the Heilongjiang university. This is the second such centre opened in China in compliance with agreements reached within the framework of the Russian-Chinese cooperation in the field of education. Earlier, a similar centre was opened in Beijing and another one will be opened at the Shanghai foreign languages university in late December. The Heilongjiang university is a major base for training specialists in north-eastern China. A total of 300 of its 25,000 students are studying Russian at the Russian language and literature department. The Harbin centre is to improve the methods of teaching Russian and organise seminars, symposiums and competitions. A competition of Russian language connoisseurs was conducted at the opening day of the Harbin centre. Taking part in it were 70 students and teachers from 18 higher schools of north-eastern China. Russian language specialists from the Harbin university told RIA Novosti that Russian was widely spread in north-eastern China. A total of 12,000 annual school graduates study Russian, and more than 80,000 schoolchildren study Russian at local schools.