2022 ‘My Story of Chinese Hanzi’ international competition draws to successful close in Hohhot, N China’s Inner Mongolia

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The 2022 “My Story of Chinese Hanzi” international competition came to a successful conclusion in Huhhot, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on Jan. 10, 2023.

The international competition is hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and organized by People’s Daily Online, the Hohhot Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the Hohhot Municipal Government.

The competition has been held for three consecutive years since 2020. The 2022 competition drew the participation of nearly 3,000 contestants from over 70 countries and regions. After two rounds of selections, 10 top winners moved onto the final round. The finalists come from Afghanistan, Thailand, Togo, Ukraine, Germany, Cameroon, Russia, India, Spain, and the U.S.

During the final round of the competition, each finalist delivered a seven-minute speech on the theme of “Yi” in Chinese, an ancient Chinese philosophical concept that represents kindheartedness and justice in Confucianism, and morality and righteousness in Mohism.

Six judges scored each of the speeches based on the core message behind their stories, expressiveness, Chinese language speaking abilities, and how their stories can promote exchanges between different civilizations.

Seyi Essobo Pascal Axyan from Cameroon emerged as the ultimate winner to take the grand prize. “From the preliminary round to the final round, I worked hard with my teacher, and we contestants encouraged each other. The grand prize is indeed a hard-won honor,” he said, “The Chinese character and Chinese culture are steeped in history. ‘Yi’ represents precious values, and reflects a love for the world and a sense of responsibility for life. I will do more that can be counted as ‘Yi’ in the future.”

According to the CPAFFC, the 2022 competition aims to promote communication and mutual learning between different civilizations around the world, fostering synergy to march towards a shared future.

Li Xikui, vice president of the CPAFFC, said the millennia-old philosophy of “Yi”, as a quintessential element of traditional Chinese culture, permeates the soul of the Chinese nation.

“It has evolved to become a basic norm and code of conduct for Chinese people to exercise self-cultivation and deal with social relations. ‘Yi’ reflects the cultural tradition and spiritual traits of the Chinese nation, which features commitment to good faith, emphasis on friendship, insistence on justice, and respect for morality,” Li added, “The theme of this competition is ‘Yi,’ a symbol of traditional Chinese wisdom, and is expected to provide some inspiration for us to address current common challenges and to work out a path ahead.”

Luo Hua, editor-in-chief of People’s Daily Online, said, “From a speech contest to a comprehensive public diplomacy activity, ‘My Story of Chinese Hanzi’, together with contestants from around the world, offers a glimpse into the spiritual traits and cultural values of Chinese civilization, and writes a chapter in friendly exchanges, mutual understanding and affinity among different civilizations.”

Xu Shouji, deputy mayor of Hohhot, said, “Hohhot boasts the Chinese nation’s cultural gene of ‘Yi’, which lays a strong emphasis on morality and honesty. Over the past thousands of years since its establishment, the city has witnessed exchanges and integration among different ethnic groups, a stronger sense of a community of the Chinese nation, and also the growing solidarity and development of the Chinese nation.”

With the competition concluded, contestants have been scheduled to visit some landmarks in Hohhot, such as the Zhaojun Museum, Saishang Old Street, Yili Modern Smart Health Valley and the Inner Mongolia Museum, to get a deeper understanding of the unique local culture.

Contestants of the 2022 “My Story of Chinese Hanzi” international competition visit the Zhaojun Museum in Hohhot, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jan. 10, 2023. (Photo/Ding Genhou)