KUNMING, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Foreign participants began competing in the "Chinese Bridge" language proficiency competition for secondary students on Tuesday in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
After qualifying competitions held between March and August worldwide, the final rounds of competition in China have attracted 320 teachers and students from 96 countries, according to Zheng Yi, deputy head of the provincial education department.
In the next 10 days, the group and individual participants will compete in quarter-finals, including competitions in spoken Chinese, Chinese culture and art performance, before entering the final round.
The winners will be awarded scholarships for overseas study in China.
"I discovered the charm of Chinese characters when I was a kid. I will try my best to learn Chinese and become a doctor to combine traditional Chinese medicine with Western medicine in the future," said Lindsay Berat, a student from the United States.
Since 2002, Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters has organized a series of "Chinese Bridge" language competitions.
In recent years, more and more foreigners have started learning Chinese. A total of 516 Confucius Institutes and 1,076 Confucius Classrooms have so far been established in 142 countries and regions, introducing Chinese language and culture to people all over the world.