High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! Chinese as a foreign or second language is the study of the Chinese languages by non-native speakers. Increased interest in China from those outside has led to a corresponding interest in the study of Standard Mandarin as a foreign language, the official languages of mainland China and Taiwan. However the teaching of Chinese both within and outside China is not a recent phenomenon. Westerners started learning different Chinese languages in the 16th century. Within China, Standard Mandarin became the official language of China in 1924. Standard Mandarin also became the official language of Taiwan after the Kuomintang took over control from Japan after World War II. In 2005, 117,660 non-native speakers took the Chinese Proficiency Test, an increase of 26.52% from 2004. From 2000 to 2004, the number of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland taking Advanced Level exams in Chinese increased by 57%. An independent school in the UK made Chinese one of their compulsory subjects for study in 2006. Chinese language study is also rising in the United States.