LONDON, June 27 (Xinhua) -- College students from across the United Kingdom (UK) showcased their command of the Chinese language through speeches and cultural performances in the regional final of the 21st "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition held at the University College London on Monday.
The contest consisted of four parts: a prepared speech on the theme "One World, One Family;" a knowledge quiz about China; a three-minute talent show; and an impromptu quiz.
William Hart, a student who majors in medicine at the University of Manchester, finished first among 10 contestants after his fluent Chinese, smooth delivery and broad knowledge of the Chinese culture impressed the judges.
Together with three other contestants, he will represent the UK in the "Chinese Bridge" global finals later this year.
"Mastering the (Chinese) language and appreciating the (Chinese) culture will certainly help you better understand the past, present and future of China," Chinese Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang said in his opening remarks.
"We all share the duty to expand cooperation between China and the UK," he said, adding that countries must make concerted efforts to tackle challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
To highlight the importance of learning Chinese, Professor Alistair Fitt, vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, quoted Nelson Mandela, the late president of South Africa: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
Launched in 2002, "Chinese Bridge" is an annual competition aimed at arousing the enthusiasm of students in various countries to learn Chinese and strengthen the world's understanding of the Chinese language and culture.