Two universities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will add Urdu and Farsi (Persian) to their undergraduate curriculum.
Shihezi University and Xinjiang Normal University based in Urumqi are setting up Urdu and Farsi departments, respectively, and start enrolling students nationwide this summer, according to a statement issued by Shihezi University on Monday.
Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. In 2013, Pakistan and China started to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 3,000-kilometre long network of roads, railways and pipelines linking Xinjiang’s Kashgar and Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
Farsi is the official language in Iran and Tajikistan, and a major language in Afghanistan.
Currently only six universities in China offer Farsi as a major, producing less than 500 people proficient in the language, Xinjiang’s increasing cooperation in trade and counter-terrorism with Farsi-speaking countries requires more advanced Farsi language learners, it said.