7/8/2006 Shanghai -- China launched a website, www.linese.com , on Saturday offering free Chinese lessons and materials to promote the study and use of the language abroad.
The site includes audio-visual presentations, interactive exercises and advice for teachers of Mandarin Chinese, with photographs and descriptions of cultural icons such as the Great Wall, kung fu actor Jackie Chan and basketball star Yao Ming.
Many of the exercises touch on China's mythical and imperial past, including practice sentences such as "how can you be a hero if you are unarmed" and "I find that Tibetans like worshipping heroes".
China is keen to expand its cultural influence along with its growing economic power, and is also setting up a network of "Confucius Institutes" around the world to promote its culture. The website is only in Chinese and English, but versions in Japanese and Korean are being developed, the official Xinhua news agency said.
More than 30 million people are now learning Chinese as a foreign language and more than 2,500 universities in 100 countries offer Chinese courses, the Ministry of Education says.
(Contributed by Reuters)