The Chinese Government is to fund the development of a cultural institute in the Welsh town of Bangor as part of plans to offer courses in Chinese with a legal focus at Bangor University.
Bangor University intends to become the first to offer a British joint-honours degree in law with Mandarin. The university will offer the course in partnership with the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.
The university will also develop a Confucius Institute, designed to help promote a better understanding of Chinese culture with a 'legal flavour'. There are currently eleven such institutes based at UK universities, but the new one at Bangor will be the first to be attached to a school of law.
Professor Dermot Cahill is the head of the school of law at Bangor University.
"You have to understand a country's culture and language first before you can understand anything else," he said.
The professor went on to explain that several local schools were already interested in learning more about Chinese culture, and in particular painting, calligraphy, music and films.
The University is hoping to begin accepting applications to its course starting in 2013 or 2014.
The Confucius Institute will bring in teachers from China to teach at the university, and there will also be classes open to the local community and secondary-school students who are interested. The institute will also offer seminars, workshops and conferences on how to handle Chinese commercial negotiations and how to foster better business links with China.
Other topics on the agenda will include Chinese product safety law, how China might learn from UK competition regulation and the role of the judiciary in resolving Chinese intellectual property law disputes.
Although the institute will have a distinctly legal flavour, the professor is also keen to point out that its aim is primarily cultural.
The degree programme in law with Mandarin will be one of five joint-honours degrees in law with a language offered by the university. Students choosing law with Mandarin will have the opportunity to spend a year living and studying in China, with the possibility of an internship at one of the global law firms with offices in the territory.
The Chinese Ministry of Education will provide half the funding for the initial set of the institute.
"We have a substantial Chinese community here in Wales who are very supportive of the Confucius Institute. They feel that it would help people in the region understand them and their culture."
Read more on the story (The Guardian)