China makes splash at book fair

Updated: 2015-05-28 22:58

By MEI JIA in New York(China Daily USA)

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China makes splash at book fair

From left: Tom Allen, president of the Association of American Publishers; Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to US; Wu Shangzhi, vice-minister of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television; Robert Holleyman, deputy US trade representative; and Zhang Qiyue, China's consul general in New York; attend the opening ceremony of 2015 Bookexpo America on Wednesday in New York. The 2015 BEA features China as its guest of honor for the first time. [XINHUA]

The Big Apple is embracing the charm of Chinese books and culture as the 2015 BookExpo America officially kicked off on Wednesday, featuring China as the Global Market Forum and the guest of honor for the first time.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said at the opening ceremony: "I'm encouraged to see more books are available, including President Xi's book and Mo Yan's novels."

Cui said as China and the US share the responsibility of building a new model relationship for mutual benefit and bilateral ties on many fronts expand, there's strong and growing interest from both sides to learn more about each other.

Zhang Qiyue, China's Consul General in New York, read a letter from former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to the event.

"The exchange of books has been an important contributing element," Zhang read from Kissinger's note. "I have learned a great deal from Chinese books, especially historical treatises of the past half-century. I welcome the fact that several of my books have been translated by Chinese publishers."

Kissinger said it is significant that the Book Expo introduces President Xi Jinping's book, The Governance of China, to an American audience. For in it, President Xi has outlined a reform program of unprecedented scope to transform Chinese society. Domestically, President Xi proposes combating corruption, strengthening legal institutions, preserving the environment and growing the Chinese economy to unprecedented levels.

President Xi accompanies his vision of a revolutionary transformation of Chinese society with a conception of cooperation with the rest of the world, Kissinger wrote.

Sending a delegation of 500 professionals and 25 celebrated writers, China is presenting the largest ever publishing exchange in the US, according to Wu Shangzhi, vice-minister of state administration of press, publication, radio, film and television.

The guest of honor pavilion, covering an area of 2,342 square meters, will display more than 10,000 Chinese titles, mostly in English.

BEA is one of the world's major book gatherings and attracts professionals from 80 countries.

According to Chinese delegation head Chen Yingming, China has been the guest of honor at major international book fairs since 2004, with an effort to promote Chinese books to international audiences. "We see it as a stage to present Chinese culture and development, in addition to the publishing exchanges," Chen said.

China's publishing "going global" strategy has been active in the last decade. According to Vice-Minister Wu, ten years ago China brought in nine titles for each one that it sold to international market; now the ratio is 1.6 to 1.

"Great progress has been made," Wu said. "The change is profound that the global interest is more in the latest Chinese titles about the country's recent developments and latest social updates, rather than in the traditional culture of years ago."

Tom Allen, president of the Association of American Publishers, said the China Global Market Forum was certain to be one of the highlights of their year's book fair.

"With 100 Chinese publishers here, probably making the greatest number of foreign publishers ever to attend the BEA, American publishers will have conversations to deepen the mutual understanding in our respective countries, and expand opportunities for business ventures," Allen told China Daily.

"With China as the guest of honor there are great possibilities for cooperation," he added.