Annual festival promotes national reading campaign
Published: Nov 28, 2023 10:43 PM
Promotional material for 2023 Beijing Reading Annual Festival Photo: Courtesy of organisers

Promotional material for 2023 Beijing Reading Annual Festival Photo: Courtesy of organisers

The 2023 Beijing Reading Annual Festival kicked off at the Capital Library of China on Tuesday. As part of China's national reading campaign, the festival aims to promote key publications in history, culture and development of the country among the general public. Experts at the event emphasized that reading classics is one of the best methods to inherit culture and therefore plays a crucial role in preserving Chinese civilization.

The reading festival provides a comprehensive summary and display of Beijing's reading initiatives and achievements in 2023.

According to a press release on Tuesday, Beijing has hosted over 30,000 reading events so far in 2023, reaching and impacting more than 20 million people. The city's overall reading proficiency steadily increased, with youth reading rates leading the nation. This concerted effort has effectively propelled the construction of a literary Beijing.

Shan Jixiang, head of the China Cultural Relics Academy, highlighted at the ceremony the significance of cultural classics as carriers of cultural tradition. He stressed that classic books embody the essence of China's outstanding traditional culture and emphasized the importance of reading, understanding, and researching these cultural treasures to better grasp cultural values.

Lü Zhou, director of the National Heritage Center of Tsinghua University, noted at the ceremony how reading contributes to understanding of fine Chinese traditional culture in five aspects - continuity, innovation, inclusiveness, unity and peace. 

As the head of the team responsible for compiling the nomination document for the Beijing Central Axis' application as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lü told the Global Times on Tuesday that Central Axis heritage protection covers all kinds of historical and cultural relics in the old city area of Beijing, representing a grand narrative of Chinese civilization. The whole team will definitely plan to present the project to the public through various book-related mediums so that more people around the world can get a detailed understanding of the project and the heritage site.

During the event, 70 representatives, including book industry enterprises and literary communities, were awarded trophies for the successful promotion of the national reading campaign in Beijing in 2023. Many of these winners leveraged technology to enhance reading experiences, a trend applauded by experts who acknowledged the convenience brought about by smart reading methods.

The rural literature work Baoshui was featured on the event's recommended reading list. Winner of the 11th Mao Dun Literature Prize, one of the four highest literature awards in China, this work narrates the transformation of a village from a traditional area to a cultural and tourism-oriented community. 

Citing the recent rise in rural literature with the Global Times on Tuesday, Han Jingqun, chief editor of Beijing October Arts and Literature Publishing House that published Baoshui, emphasized the importance of aligning stories with national development policies.

The event also included a ceremony for the donation of excellent ancient texts related to literature, traditional Chinese medicine and more. Shang told the Global Times that China's ancient texts are significant for their role in preserving the "roots and soul" of Chinese culture. He added that this donation highlighted the nation's commitment to the protection and promotion of ancient texts.