China is taking steps to preserve Portuguese culture and language on Macao in an effort to bolster trade relations with Brazil and other countries in the Latin world, according to the IHT: “Five years ago, Portugal surrendered back to China this enclave of 26 square kilometers, or 10 square miles. Although Macao was the first and last piece of China under European rule, most people predicted that the Portuguese language would disappear here in a blink of an eye… But in a surprising turnaround, enrollments for private Portuguese classes have tripled, to 1,000, since 2002. That surge prompted Chinese public schools here to offer Portuguese this fall, drawing more than 5,000 students… If economics dictate the rise and fall of languages, the renaissance of Portuguese is dictated by Beijing’s new determination that Macao will serve as a platform for China’s growing commercial and strategic interests in the Latin world… ‘Macao can be a bridge between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries,’ China’s vice commerce minister, An Min, said last October after trade talks here with seven Portuguese-speaking countries… Slow to establish connections with Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries, China now is moving aggressively. Almost overnight, it has become Brazil’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. ”
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