PARIS, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- China is a privileged partner for France and their relations still have many beautiful pages to write, French sinologist Joel Bellassen has said.
Bellassen, also the first inspector general of Chinese at the French Ministry of National Education, told Xinhua that "the continuation of exchanges ... between France and China should make us optimistic."
The bilateral relations are in the right direction with a multifaceted development touching all areas, Bellassen said.
The sinologist has devoted his whole life to the Chinese language, first as a student with a curiosity for languages, then a professor who promotes the Chinese morality, as well as a witness to the ever-deepening cultural and educational cooperation between France and China.
"To know China, seeing for oneself is 100 times better than hearing from others," he said.
In order to boost the exchange of knowledge between the two countries, "we must gradually reduce stereotypes. And this can only be done by strengthening links and exchanges of all kinds, especially at the level of individuals and especially at the cultural level, "he said.
He said France is among the first Western countries to have contributed to the development of sinology and the study of the Chinese language, and it has a better understanding of China than many of its Western peers.
Bellassen said that in France, the number of Chinese language learners, especially in high schools and colleges, has been increasing since 2000. The teaching of the language has become more regulated and the mastery of the language is becoming a new laissez-passer for employment.
According to figures from the Education Department of the Chinese Embassy in France, more than 110,000 people were studying Chinese in France in 2018. Over the last decade or so, the French government has opened Chinese classes in 46 primary and secondary schools.