How important are four years of a foreign language class?
I took Chinese freshman and sophomore year of high school before quitting because of how mean the teacher was. Junior year, I took a semester of French 1 because I was interested in it, but ended up dropping it for journalism for semester 2 because it moved so slowly. How bad will this look to colleges? I've heard that they really like to see students with 3-4 years of the same language, and UC schools even recommend 3 years.
Four (4) years of a foreign language is important if you are applying to Harvard which prefers 4 years of 1 language. If you are applying to other Ivy League schools its 3 or more years in a 1 language, and for most of the other top 25 schools, it's 3 years of 1 language. For UC schools including UCLA and Berkeley its a minimum of 2, 3 recommended.
Let me get this correct. In your case, you have 2 years of Chinese and 1/2 years of French. So 2 years 1 language and 1/2 another language.
You should be fine for UC schools and other state schools.
I hope that helps.