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If you want to truly understand China, do you need to be able to speak Chinese? | Yangyang Cheng

As a student, I learned English was the language of opportunity – a belief that keeps most Chinese invisible to the global eliteI remember the muted p

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As a student, I learned English was the language of opportunity – a belief that keeps most Chinese invisible to the global elite

I remember the muted pain in my classmate’s voice when he raised his hand to speak. He wanted to know why, as a Chinese person studying science in China, he was required to take English and pass proficiency tests in order to graduate. “Leave English to the English majors,” he said.

The teacher explained that English is the global language of science: the best journals are published in English. The best schools are taught in English, which also means that they are located outside of China. A competent scientist, regardless of nationality, needs to be able to communicate in English.

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