Mr Xiao Xu and Anna Bullard

Mr Xiao Xu, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, and winner Anna Bullard

Perth student Anna Bullard is to represent Australia in the world finals of the 2018 Chinese Bridge (Hanyu Qiao) language competition in China after taking out first place in the regional final held in Perth in June.

Anna, 15, from Rossmoyne Senior High School, demonstrated exceptional ability to beat ten other talented secondary school students from around the country. Together with runner-up Callum Hogden, from Canberra Grammar School, she will now prepare to take on students from around the globe in the world finals to be held in Kunming, China, later this year.

Anna said learning Chinese was her passion and that she had been interested in everything about China since she was a child. She hoped to eventually work in a China-related occupation, and said she was very excited about the opportunity to travel there soon to learn more about the country.

The 11th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition Regional Final for Secondary School Students was held on 15 June, 2018 at the Confucius Institute at UWA. Eleven secondary school students from the ACT, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia competed through a written test, a speech and a cultural performance. The range of performances included a shadow play, a Chinese folk song and a brush painting. Mr Xiao Xu, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, and Ms Qian Jin, Consul General of the Chinese Consulate General in Perth, gave the opening speeches.

Mr Xu said the competition was an important avenue to promote mutual trust and understanding between Australia and China. He encouraged young Australians to witness and participate in Sino-Australia trading and cultural exchanges through learning the Chinese language. Mr Xu, who has attended four Chinese Bridge regional finals, said the level and strength of this year’s contestants surpassed that of previous years.

The Confucius Institute at UWA has regularly hosted the Chinese Bridge regional finals. Professor Matthew Tonts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law, and Education at UWA, also gave a speech and said the competition gave all contestants the opportunity to learn about Chinese history, language and culture as well as giving the winners a rare chance to explore the country. He said his own two children had begun learning Chinese.

Chief Judge Wang Yi said that as Chinese language learning now tends to start with programs aimed at young children, the language ability demonstrated by secondary students today is often higher than the level shown by undergraduates a few years ago. She congratulated all contestants for taking part and said she had been struck by how much preparation they had put into the event.

Read more about the competition.