A student performs during the "Chinese Bridge Cuba 2018" competition at the University of Havana, in Havana, Cuba, on May 9, 2018. "Chinese Bridge Cuba 2018" competition took place on Wednesday with students from the Confucius Institute of Havana demonstrating their language skills, as well as their knowledge of Chinese history and culture. (Xinhua/Joaquin Hernandez)
HAVANA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese language competition, "Chinese Bridge Cuba 2018," took place on Wednesday with students from the Confucius Institute of Havana demonstrating their language skills, as well as their knowledge of Chinese history and culture.
Sponsored by the Confucius Institute, the University of Havana and China's Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the contest brought together higher-level students after several years of study.
After three rounds of competition where they demonstrated their verbal and grammatical knowledge, as well as aspects of Chinese culture, history and society, contestant Raquel Toranzo was declared the winner.
"I'm really excited to win this contest because studying Chinese is very important in my life. I am grateful to the jury and the professors of the Confucius Institute for selecting me as the winner and I'll continue to deepen my knowledge of the language," Toranzo told Xinhua.
During the competition, Toranzo spoke in perfect Chinese about her family, then correctly answered four questions about history, grammar and general culture before drawing examples of ancient and modern Chinese calligraphy.
Toranzo received her award from the University of Havana's deputy rector, Hilda Leon. In the next few months, she will travel to Beijing to represent Cuba in the global "Chinese Bridge" competition.
Second place was awarded to Camila Moreno, whose performance also earned her the recognition of the public and the jury.
In a speech, Yao Fei, political counselor of the Chinese embassy in Cuba, thanked the Confucius Institute and the University of Havana for their support and for becoming platforms for the teaching of Chinese in Cuba.
He congratulated all contestants for their advanced knowledge of Chinese as well as of the nation's culture and traditions.
"Chinese has become a world language and there is great fervor to learn it across all five continents. Language is an instrument for communication and, just as this contest states, it is a bridge that brings together China with the rest of the planet," said the diplomat.
Yao highlighted the work carried out since 4008 by the Confucius Institute in Havana where hundreds of Cubans have learned Chinese.
"Every day more Cubans become interested in the study of the Chinese language. This is largely a result of the successful work of the Confucius Institute," he said.
He also said that more than 400 million people in the world are studying Chinese, which has allowed for the expansion of China's economic, commercial and cultural ties with different nations of the world.
The diplomat also thanked the Cuban government for offering more than 3,000 scholarships to Chinese students to study Spanish in Cuba since 4006.