Chinese bridge competition

UNSW’s Confucius Institute Director Laurie Pearcey alongside some of China’s biggest name celebrities.

Win for Team Australia at Chinese Bridge competition 

An Australian has snared first prize at China’s famous Chinese Bridge competition finals at Changsha. Broadcast to a primetime audience of over 500 million people on China’s Hunan TV Network, UNSW’s Confucius Institute Director Laurie Pearcey sat alongside some of China’s biggest name celebrities as a judge at the ‘X-Factor’ style event.

Now in its twelfth year, the Chinese Bridge Competition for Foreign College Students of Chinese is a flagship program run by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters in partnership with Hunan TV, and has attracted more than 1,000 university students from over 70 countries to participate in the finals in China.

For the first time in the competition’s history, an Australian won the grand prize beating out tough competition from Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.

Appearing with Canadian Mark Roswell, the ‘god’ of non-native Chinese speakers and a household name throughout China, and well-known celebrities including actors Zhang Tielin and Xiao Xiangyu, UNSW’s Confucius Institute Director Laurie Pearcey was a judge at the grand final. 

“You really have to see it to believe the scale of this competition and just how well-known it is in China. It gets primetime billing on national television and this just goes to show the value and the respect it earns from Chinese people if foreigners take the plunge and learn their language,” said Pearcey. 

“It is fantastic that Australia has finally managed to snare the top prize. It has eluded us for too long and while we are a small country, we do punch above our weight and produce top Chinese speaking talent.” 

UNSW has a track record of producing high quality competitors, sending more than six students over the years, including Pearcey himself when he was an undergraduate international studies student.

The Sydney round of the competition typically takes place in May, with the Confucius Institute providing training and tutoring to competitors interested in this flagship event.

Click here for an interview in Chinese with Laurie Pearcey about the competition.