Finding the literary connections between China, Chile

Updated: 2015-05-26 14:37


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Finding the literary connections between China, Chile

Claudio Schudeck (right), a Chilian writer, and his wife Alica Aguirre Bustamante (left), a teacher at an elementary school in Santiago, talk about their impression of China in The Casa de Isla Negra. Li Ge/ China Daily.

"Love is so short, forgetting is so long."

That romantic sentence is from Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, one of the most famous poems by Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

The Casa de Isla Negra, 110 km west of Santiago, is one of Neruda's residences.

Claudio Schudeck, who writes novels in Spanish, visits Casa de Isla Negra with his wife. El Hijo de la Diosa (The Son of the Goddess) and Fugitivos de Terror (Fugitives of Terror) are two of his works.

Schudeck knows Mo Yan, a Chinese novelist and short story writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work as a writer "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".

Mo attended the symposium on China-Latin America cultural exchange in Bogota on May 22, which also was attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Schudeck has read the Spanish version of My Country and My people by Lin Yutang.

"Lin's book was very popular 50 years ago, while I was young," Schudeck said. "I think it's conveys a lot of philosophies."

"There are many Chinese language schools in Chile," said Alica Aguirre Bustamante, Schudeck's wife, who is a teacher at an elementary school in Santiago. "There are also many Chileans who want to learn Chinese. Because we know China will soon surpass the US."

Jose Luis, who is a woodcutter working near Casa de Isla Negra, admires the wisdom of Chinese people.

"China is such a huge country, but is managed very well," Luis said. "I like Chinese philosophy and culture. I hope every country in the world including Chile has China's wisdom to govern their own country," Luis said.

Luis learned about China from television and the Internet. He also has Chinese friends working in the restaurants.

Neruda visited China three times and was interested in Chinese culture. In 1928, he met Sun Yat-sen's wife Song Qingling. He also met Mao Dun, a 20th-century Chinese novelist, cultural critic and journalist who was also China's minister of culture from 1949 to 1965; Ding Ling, one of the most celebrated 20th-century Chinese authors; and Ai Qing, one of the finest modern Chinese poets.

In November 2014, a statue of Neruda was created by Yuan Xikun, a renowned Chinese artist, educator and environmental advocate. The statue is situated in Chaoyang Park in Beijing.

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