Although the history of Polish-Chinese relations dates back to the medieval journeys of the Polish Jesuit Michał Boym, the beginning of Polish language studies in China should be traced to the second half of the 20th century. From 1950, i.e. a year after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China as well as the diplomatic relations between Poland and the PRC.The Chinese government began sending Chinese students to Poland under a scholarship program, to pursue studies in a variety of academic disciplines. Among the first seven students, who arrived in Poland at that time, was Xiao Huimin, who began studying Polish language at the Faculty of Philology at the University of Warsaw in 1950.
In 1954, after returning to China, 26-year-old Xiao Huimin began working as a Polish language lecturer at the Beijing Foreign Studies University together with Leszek Cyrzyk – a lecturer from Poland. The first group of students of Polish Studies in Beijing consisted of only 20 people. Among them was Cheng Jizhong – future head of the University’s Polish Language Department, responsible for its development over the following decades. For many years, BFSU was the only Polish Studies center in China, educating generations of outstanding Polish language students. Among them was prof. Yi Lijun, author of the Chinese translation of the third part of “Dziady” by Adam Mickiewicz – the first foreign literature translation published in China in 1976, following the Cultural Revolution. This book became the beginning of prof. Yi’s impressive translation work, also giving rise to a huge wave of translations of foreign literature all across China.
Throughout over 60 years of history, the BFSU Polish Studies have educated hundreds of graduates, among whom are many diplomats, officials, experts and businessmen.
Until recently, BFSU was the only university in China offering Polish language as a separate field of study. However, due to the increasing trade and cultural exchange between Poland and China, the demand for specialists speaking Polish and Chinese is constantly growing. Therefore, in 2009, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, the City of Harbin, whose history is inseparably connected to the fate of Polish emigrants, who contributed to its construction and development, opened the second Polish Studies major in China. In 2014, Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province, followed suite. Currently, as many as 15 different Chinese universities offer majors in Polish studies, and five universities offer Polish language classes as an elective course for their students.
Polish Studies in China can count on the continuous support of the Polish Embassy in Beijing and the Polish Institute in Beijing, which not only engage in events organized by each university, but also provide them with Polish teaching materials and textbooks. We also organize regular specialized translation workshops for students and language teaching workshops aimed at constantly improving the qualifications of Polish language lecturers, who face the difficult task of teaching our challenging language in Asia.
List of universities offering Polish Studies and Polish Language Courses in China
(collected May 2020)
- Beijing Foreign Studies University (established in 1954)
- Harbin Normal University (2010)
- Northeastern University (2013)
- Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (2014)
- Hebei Foreign Studies University (2014)
- Beijing International Studies University (2015)
- Zhejiang University Ningbo Institute of Technology (2016)
- Tianjin Foreign Studies University (2017)
- Xi’an International Studies University (2017)
- Shanghai International Studies University (2017)
- Sichuan University (2017)
- Chengdu Institute Sichuan International Studies University (2017)
- Changchun University (2018)
- Dalian University of Foreign Languages (2018)
- Beijing Sport University (2019)
- Sichuan International Studies University (2019)
- Jilin International Studies University (2019)
- Zhejiang International Studies University (2019)
- Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages (2019)