Trustworthy, cute and respectable
Author: Chen Junjing and Tian Yongguan (respectively dean and professor of the College of Science and Technology of Ningbo University, and lecturer of the College of Science and Technology of Ningbo University)
Telling Chinese stories well, spreading China’s voice well, and showing a credible, lovely, and respectable image of China are the responsibilities entrusted to us by the times. Recently, “Falling in Love with China: Understanding Greater China through Short Stories” (hereinafter referred to as “Falling in Love with China”) published by Guangming Daily Publishing House is another narration after the publication of the “I Love My Motherland” series of books. A masterpiece of Chinese stories.
After reviewing the whole book, the author believes that this is a book that is rooted in the excellent traditional Chinese culture, can enhance cultural confidence, and is highly readable. When you open the book page, you can see that “China is one of the birthplaces of human civilization and an ancient country with a glorious civilization.” “The Chinese people have written a magnificent historical picture in the long history and created an extremely splendid material civilization and spiritual civilization.” The language is full of historical and cultural confidence in the Chinese nation.
The book “Falling in Love with China” is rich in content. Starting from a broad spatial perspective and a long time scale, it introduces people, events and things in China from ancient to modern times in an all-round and multi-angle manner. The book contains not only the excellent traditional culture created by the Chinese nation in the past five thousand years, but also the new culture and achievements that have been formed with the times today – such as the familiar Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Four Great Inventions, Shu Brocade, Silk Painting, and Water Transport. The achievements of ancient civilizations such as the instrument platform, as well as the achievements of contemporary civilization such as high-speed rail, supercomputers, 5G, and seaplanes. The book sorts out “the best of China” as much as possible, in the hope that readers can understand Chinese culture in the shortest possible time. For example, the book introduces that since the beginning of the Western translation process in the 17th century, the “Tao Te Ching” has become the most translated traditional Chinese classic, second only to the “Bible” in terms of circulation and frequency in the English-speaking world. Each article in the book is short and concise, but also comprehensive; the content is concise, but it also demonstrates the continuity and uniqueness of Chinese civilization over thousands of years. The author believes that by reading this book, readers can form a comprehensive and three-dimensional understanding of China in a relatively short period of time.
Language barriers and cultural barriers are important variables that affect cultural exchange and dissemination. The book is published in Chinese and English, with easy-to-understand words. Some difficult words are carefully annotated. These methods have, to a certain extent, broken down the language barriers and cultural barriers that readers face when they want to understand Chinese culture, and adapted to the language abilities of Chinese-English bilingual readers. At the same time, the book is arranged with pictures on the left and text on the right, and each story is carefully accompanied by colorful pictures, which increases the readability of the book and the convenience of acquiring knowledge.
How to enhance the influence of China’s excellent traditional culture in foreign exchanges, promote Chinese culture to go global, and let more people understand and fall in love with China? With this awareness of the problem, the author began to read through the book and discovered the answer, which is to respond to the requirements of the times and promote the internationalization of book editing and publishing from an international perspective. Among the 99 stories selected in “Falling in Love with China”, 30 were written by the editor of the book and 69 were written by international friends, with authors from more than 20 countries and regions. The participation of international friends allowed the author to see the perspectives and ways of promoting Chinese culture overseas.
Cultural exchanges and mutual learning have never stopped since the birth of mankind. There are only differences in magnitude and depth. The book focuses on the exchange, interaction and mutual learning between Chinese and Western cultures: when introducing the Forbidden City, it tells the story of Matteo Ricci and the Forbidden City; when introducing the miracle doctor Zhang Zhongjing, he uses Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, to compare Zhang Zhongjing’s medical achievements. achievements and commonalities. In the whole book “Falling in Love with China”, the author saw the common spirit and cultural memory of the Chinese nation, the integration and interaction of China’s excellent traditional culture and world culture, and the unique contribution of the Chinese people to world history and culture. However, the book does not deliberately seek common ground, but acknowledges the differences between Chinese and Western cultures. For example, it points out that although many Western disciplines have conducted research on traditional Chinese medicine, it is difficult to measure traditional Chinese medicine by Western standards.
The book also points out the direction for readers to further understand the excellent traditional Chinese culture – for example, if you want to learn about chopstick culture, you can go to the Shanghai Chopstick Museum, which has a collection of more than 2,000 pairs of chopsticks. The oldest collection can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty; For Chinese rice dumpling culture, you can go to Jiaxing to visit the world’s first and only rice dumpling museum and so on.
Books are the carrier of culture and a bridge of communication. The publication of the book “Falling in Love with China” allowed the author to see a way to deepen cultural exchanges between China and the West and promote the spread of Chinese culture to the outside world. At the same time, he also saw the international community’s demand for this type of reading material. It is reported that at the time of the publication of the book, eight countries, including Egypt, the United Kingdom, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, had introduced the copyright of the book. When I saw the positive comments about the book from publishing and cultural circles in the UK, Russia and other countries on the title page, the author believed that the book would help the international community understand China.
From the “Preface”, we learned that “Falling in Love with China” is the first volume in the “Falling in Love with China Series”. As confirmed by the author and the publisher, as of June 2023, hundreds of titles in this series have been signed. Fortunately, “Falling in Love with China” is not an isolated book. Because, in order to “let China go to the world and let the world understand China”, the influence of a single book is limited, and only a series of works can form scale effects and cluster effects. The subsequent publication of this series of books requires continued joint efforts from the publishing and cultural circles.
In the postscript, the author sees the sense of responsibility and mission of the editing and publishing team. This team hopes that the publication of the “Falling in Love with China Series” can refine and display the spiritual symbols and cultural essence of Chinese civilization, present a credible, lovely, and respectable image of China, promote Chinese culture to the world, and enhance the image of Chinese civilization. Communication power and influence.
The author believes that strengthening overseas understanding of Chinese culture should not be one-sided or single. It is necessary to let readers not only understand China’s past, but also understand China’s present, and better understand China’s future and understand the value pursuit and development direction of the Chinese people. The series of books is comprehensively planned from the vertical time dimension and the horizontal industry dimension, with a view to comprehensively introducing the civilizational achievements of various industries across our country, which is very necessary.
In recent years, the Chinese people are transforming from self-certification to self-certification and gradually improving their cultural confidence. The “Falling in Love with China Series” planned and published by Guangming Daily Publishing House is a reflection of this self-certification. Taking the initiative to tell Chinese stories to the outside world, taking the initiative to go to the world and making China’s voice heard is the open attitude and cultural confidence of the publishing industry.
It is worth mentioning that the book’s text expression is accurate, and its layout and binding are exquisite, minimizing any shortcomings that may be caused by publishing. Presumably, this is related to the fact that the editorial and publishing team has been working in the industry for many years. Looking forward to the follow-up works in the series.
“Guangming Daily” (page 15, September 25, 2023)
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