Kyrgyzstan high on 'Chinese fever'
Updated 20:33, 14-Jun-2019

"The world is learning Chinese. The language of Confucius is becoming internationalized" was once a tongue twister, but the phrase is increasingly becoming a reality.

Located in one of the main streets of Bishkek, the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan, Shans Bookstore is a testimony to the China craze sweeping the country.

Shans Bookstore in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. /CGTN Photo

Shans Bookstore in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. /CGTN Photo

As the first China-themed bookshop in Central Asia, Shans Bookstore presents works by Chinese writers and poets.

Books about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese customs and idioms can also be found in Russian.

"Books about Chinese language learning and Belt and Road Initiative are the most popular," Mirlan, an employee at the bookshop told CGTN.

"Many people say Chinese is one of the most difficult languages. But I thought I can do it if that’s the case, I want to challenge myself and prove myself. Then I gradually fell in love with this beautiful language," a local university student said.

Books about Chinese culture on display at Shans Bookstore. /CGTN Photo

Books about Chinese culture on display at Shans Bookstore. /CGTN Photo

Right across the street is the Kyrgyz National University, where over 1,000 students sign up for Chinese language classes every year.

"The students are very interested in it. I tell them what I’ve learned and experienced in China," Usenbaeva Jyldyz, a local teacher who's been to China, told CGTN.

"They are getting in much favor of Chinese, and want to see China by themselves, the Great Wall, and those famous cities," she added.

The role of the Confucius Institute is central to spreading the Chinese language.

Four universities and colleges in Kyrgyzstan have established cooperation with the Confucius Institute.


In recent years, exchanges and cooperation in education have built a "bridge of friendship" between China and Kyrgyzstan.

More than 4,600 Kyrgyz students were studying in China in 2018, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Coinciding with the 19th SCO Summit taking place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Culture Azamat Jamankulov shared his thoughts with CGTN: "There is nothing like culture that can strongly bring people from two countries together. It’s right that the SCO places great importance on cultural development. Culture should go first. Culture provides us with a foundation."