QUETTA, Pakistan, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The first Chinese Study Center in Pakistan's southwest province of Balochistan has been inaugurated in an effort to enhance people's perception of China among different communities in the province.
The study center, which is funded by the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and under the University of Balochistan, would start a six-week language introductory course, six-month diploma course of Chinese language learning followed by a four-year program in China studies. It will also do researches on topics related to the bilateral ties and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
At an inauguration ceremony held on Monday in Balochistan's oldest and largest university, Vice Chancellor Javeid Iqbal said that by starting the Chinese Study Center, "we are opening a door to the platform of opportunities for youth and others, which would prepare them to contribute to Pak-China relations and Pakistan's national development."
"China is not only a great friend of Pakistan but also a great source of knowledge, guidance, prosperity, progress and development for Pakistan," said the vice-chancellor, adding that the study center would help Pakistani people better understand China and will improve people-to-people contacts between the two brotherly countries.
Zhao Lijian, minister counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, said the embassy provided support to set up the center on the request of the university with a firm belief that it would become a beacon for both sides to understand each other.
"It is the 17th China study center in Pakistan, which shows that Pakistani people have a keen interest to know about their old friend China and learn the Chinese language," said Zhao, who also announced that China will provide over 20,000 scholarships to Pakistani students in the next three years.
Focal Person of the study center Kaleem Ullah Mandokhail told Xinhua that 24 researchers have already joined the center for their researches, adding that they have published an advertisement in local media for the Chinese language course last week which received a great response from students, youngsters and especially from local businesspersons who want to start or improve their business connections with China.
Zainab Baloch, a graduate who also attended the inauguration ceremony, shared her excitement with Xinhua, saying that it is a great opportunity for her to learn the Chinese language from an authentic institute at her hometown after which she can play her role in CPEC.