‘Belt and Road’ initiative promotes Sino-Arab cooperation at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/2 18:18:39

"All of our copyright collaborations have a foundation in the B&R initiative." --Muhammad Khatib, president of Digital Future

New World Press Editor-in-Chief Zhang Haiou (back right) interacts with local kids at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on April 26. Photo: Courtesy of New World Press

For the first time ever, China took part in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) as the fair's guest of honor this year. Kicking off on April 26 and coming to an end on Tuesday, this was the fair's 27th year.

One of the largest international book fairs in the Middle East and North Africa, ADIBF attracts publishers, authors and some 300,000 readers from more than 60 countries and regions every year.

"The opportunity to experience and understand the Chinese cultural paradigm is considered a vital addition in today's times when the world needs a successful model that differs from the norm, and inhabits a traditional land that is safeguarded by heritage, traditions and customs," says a statement on the official ADIBF website.

Promoting the theme "Reading China," Chinese publishers held more than 50 activities at the fair to promote Chinese publications in Middle Eastern markets.

Nearly 200 Chinese delegations brought some 3,500 books to the fair. Additionally, famous Chinese authors Cao Wenxuan (The Grass House, 1997), Liu Zhenyun (One Sentence Worth Ten Thousand, 2008), Yu Hua (To Live, 1993), Xu Zechen (Jerusalem, 2014) and Mai Jia attended a series of literature activities.

On Friday, Beijing-based China Intercontinental Press debuted the Arabic version of Mai's novel Decoded (2002).

At the debut, Mai emphasized the need for translation, promotion and international publishers to ensure that good books do not go unnoticed.

Belt and Road

As China's "Belt and Road" initiative gains more ground, an increasing number of countries are looking to learn more about China so as to strengthen their cooperation with the nation. This trend was remarkably reflected at the book fair.

China and participating Middle Eastern countries held forums and discussed the future of publication collaboration.

At one of the forums, Wu Shangzhi, deputy head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, noted how the B&R initiative has created more opportunities for cooperation with China.

According to Wu, at least 750 copyright agreements were reached between China and Middle Eastern countries in 2016. He also pointed out that at the government level, China will further encourage Sino-Middle Eastern publishing cooperation with projects such as the Silk Road Book project and the Inter-translation Plan of Books in Chinese and Foreign Languages.

According to a People's Daily report on Friday, in addition to cooperation among publishers, more people in the Middle East are looking to take part in the B&R initiative.

At the book fair, Lebanese company Digital Future imported the Arabic version of the Chinese Culture Reader published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

"All of our copyright collaborations have a foundation in the B&R initiative. I believe the more we collaborate with each other, the more benefits we can gain," Muhammad Khatib, president of Digital Future, told the People's Daily.

Chinese exports

ADIBF was the platform for the collective debut of a number of Chinese publications in Arab countries.

The main force behind China's "going global" strategy in the publishing industry, the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) sold the copyrights to 121 Chinese publications on the first day of the book fair.

Over the following days, CIPG exhibited some 600 books, including 450 in English and more than 100 in Arabic.

Books that were exhibited include Xi Jinpin: The Governance of China (2014) by the Foreign Languages Press and Keywords to Understand China (2016) and The Belt and Road Initiative: What Will China Offer the World in its Rise (2016) by the New World Press. The Arabic versions of the latter two books also debuted at the book fair.

Publishing houses long dedicated to promoting Chinese books overseas, such as the New World Press and the China Intercontinental Press, also signed agreements establishing editorial departments in Arab countries.

In addition, the New World Press also launched its Chinese-Arabic Inter-Translation Project.

According to the New World Press, the project's goal is to translate 10 Chinese books into Arabic. Selected works will not only include books focused on themes such as "the Chinese Dream" and the B&R initiative, but also classical and modern Chinese literature and children's books.

Newspaper headline: Path to the Middle East

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