Hanban’s “Chinese Bridge” Chinese language competitions

Do you get mistaken for a Chinese person when you talk on the phone? Do you find yourself correcting the tones of your Chinese friends? Then consider entering Hanban’s Chinese language proficiency competitions, which are held multiple times a year worldwide as part of their remit to promote the Chinese language (along with their Confucius language institutes). They have no entrance fees, and prizes include free trips and scholarships.

These Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competitions include contests for high-school and college students living outside of China, and, as of 2015, a new contest for anyone under 65 that will be held inside the country.

The contests are also televised, giving you a chance to become a celebrity in China. Here is what you need to know to participate.



To compete in the Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students, you must be aged 15-20 and of foreign nationality. In addition you must have been born and raised outside of China, and your mother tongue must not be Chinese.

To compete in the competition for foreign college students, you must be a current college student between 18 and 30 who was born outside of China. You must not be a Chinese citizen, and your first language cannot be Chinese.

To compete in the Worldwide Foreigner’s Chinese Proficiency Competition, an expansion of the previous Competition for Foreign Students in China, you need to be between 10 and 65. You must be a foreign national, without any immediate Chinese relatives within five generations, and your first language cannot be Chinese.



The competition is carried out by Hanban in cooperation with local governments, and is presented to the public through TV broadcasts. Winners of high-school and college competitions will be granted the opportunity to apply for Confucius Institute scholarships to study in China.

Participants of the final round of competition will have return tickets and accommodation covered.


Competition process

The preliminary rounds of the competitions for foreign college and secondary school students are held in the home countries of participants in the spring and summer (between March and June in 2015). The educational or cultural offices of Chinese embassies and consulates or local Confucius Institutes organize the preliminary competitions, and select and recommend the winners to attend the final competition held in China. Outstanding performers in preliminary competitions will also have the opportunity to be recommended to come to China to watch the competition. Secondary school students who win the opportunity to view competitions in China can be accompanied by a teacher. 

The final competition for foreign college students is held in China in July every year, while the final competition for foreign secondary school students is held in October every year. 

Chinese embassies and consulates or Confucius Institutes will publish how to apply and when the application is due at the beginning of each year, so pay attention if you want to enter.

Participants in Worldwide Foreigner’s Chinese Proficiency Competition should directly apply to Hanban. Detailed plans for the 2015 competition will be published in the beginning of 2015, and interested people should pay attention to the advertisement for the competition here. In 2014, a preliminary round of competition was held in major cities in China from late April to mid May, and the final round was held in July. 


Content of competition

The semifinals of the college student competition will test language proficiency, knowledge about China and the ability to perform traditional Chinese arts, such as Chinese opera, dance or comedy. The finals feature an elimination competition, resulting in the selection of first, second and third-place winners, and the winner of a special award. You can find videos of previous competitions here.

High school students will be judged on similar material. To watch previous competitions, go here.

Participants of Worldwide Foreigner’s Chinese Proficiency Competition will be tested on their Chinese language proficiency, and knowledge about China’s present and history. Videos of the 2014 competition can be found here.

At the time of writing, in January 2015, the competition for college students has been held 13 times, the competition for high school students has been held eight times, and the Worldwide Foreigner’s Chinese Proficiency Competition has been held one time, in 2014.

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