Learning more about the Chinese culture, Chinese language and traditions, form part of the goals, delivered by the Confucius Institute (CI) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
The CI which was established at DUT from 2014, strives to fulfill its roles of teaching various Mandarin courses ,introducing China and Chinese culture to South African communities, promoting cultural, educational and academic exchanges between South Africa and China, as well as organising Summer and Winter camps to China, to name but a few.
Mr Frank Lin Wu, Director of the Confucius Institute, introduced the Deputy consulate general from the Consulate General of China in Durban, Ms Ding Qiao and the cultural counsellor from Chinese Embassy, Mr Zheng Wen, who spoke about the cultural and technological growth of China to DUT staff and students in attendance.
Mr Wen spoke about the accelerated growth and modern life in China from the perspective of four major technology applications such as the high-speed railway network, online shopping, mobile payment and shared bicycles.
He said that these new technological applications have been adopted and implemented to make the daily life of the public more and more convenient.
In terms of high-speed railway, he said that the Chinese people were very driven to spend time with their families, especially on traditional time-frames such as the Chinese New Year.
“There is a high demand for transportation in a short period and 3,7 billion people make their way home by all means of transportation, the largest routine human migration in the world. There became a strong force to develop the new railway system network,” he said.
Mr Wen added that people now used the modern high-speed railway system which can travel from Beijing to China in a time of four hours and 18 minutes, making it more convenient with WiFi, to stay connected to friends.
Another growth accelerator has occurred with online shopping in China, where more than half a billion of the population was connected by their cellphones, to make purchases online.
“I call the cellphone the personal digital terminal where everything can happen from ordering and purchasing food or other items from your home or office,” he said.
He said with just a QR code (quick response code), was used to provide easy access to information through a smartphone. Mr Wen stressed that if one did not have a QR code, it was impossible to make any online payments or online purchases.
One of the revived technological innovations he said that is also gaining great momentum is the shared bicycle system. “To unlock a bike, you need to scan a QR (Quick Response) code on a shared bike through a smartphone app. To finish riding, you manually lock the bike and pay for your ride through mobile payment services that are connected with the bike app,” he said.
Mr Wen said that by combining GPS, smartphone apps, mobile payment and Internet of Things technology, China’s system of shared bikes provided the public with a convenient and affordable transport alternative.
Mr Wen said that the advanced technology has brought great convenience and user experience to people, especially the techno-savvy youths.
DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement: Professor Sibusiso Moyo, who also welcomed the international guest to DUT, said that part of DUT’s strategic plan is to expose the DUT students to an international programme, to give that cultural experience to students.
“Every year our DUT students through the CI, get a chance to go to China through the Summer/Winter camps initiative. Last year, 22 DUT students formed part of the Winter camp that went to China on a cultural tour,” she said.
She spoke highly of her visit to China, adding that she has been to many countries but China was a wonderful place where people were instilled with immense cultural values. She also said she valued and looked forward to the future collaborations with China and DUT, through the CI.
Pictured: DUT’s Professor Graham Stewart, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement: Professor Sibusiso Moyo with Mr Frank Lin Wu, Director of the Confucius Institute, Consulate General of China in Durban: Ms Ding Qiao, a cultural counsellor from the Chinese Embassy: Mr Zheng Wen, and other international guests, at the event.