BEIJING - An official with the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) Monday warned against security loopholes at many heritage sites and vowed to enhance law enforcement.
"I was probably the first person ever to gain a doctorate in Chinese opera from an Australian university," he said. "But my thesis looked more at the social impact it had on society rather than the music."
Xiong said the key to reforming the country's English language tests is a separation between exams and enrollment, so that people will start to learn English because they like the language, not because they are required to study it.
Afghanistan's President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Bolivia's President Juan Evo Morales Ayma, Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak also extended congratulations to Xi through other forms.
To compile the scale, called "China's Standards of English Language Ability", experts spent three years collecting data from 160,000 students and teachers and conducted research and studies at more than 1,500 schools in 28 provinces.
Despite the anti-Western sentiment in China at that time, Mackerras found the people there, including his students and colleagues, to be very kind and friendly toward him and his wife.
He noted that the past year had seen some "outrageous" claims made against China, and the media had been "poisonous".
It was also a time when the United States and Australia were preparing to send their troops to join the Vietnam War. "There were demonstrations in Beijing and we joined in. I was against the war anyway."