For contributions promoting Chinese books and writings to global audiences, 20 international authors, translators and publishers were honored in Beijing with the Special Book Award of China on Tuesday.
The ceremony, with Vice-Premier Liu Yandong presenting the awards, also marked the opening of the 24th Beijing International Book Fair, in which some 1,000 book events will be held from Wednesday to Sunday.
The fair, the world’s second-largest, has attracted 2,500 publishers from 89 countries and regions, and they brought 300,000 titles.
One of the winners was British translator Paul White, who has been working with China International Publishing Group for 31 years.
Among the books he worked on are Xi Jinping: The Governance of China and The Chinese Path and the Chinese Dream.
“I stay here because of the huge changes China has experienced,” White said.
White said Chinese culture presents topics that are popular with global audiences. But as interest grows, international readers also want to read about China’s progress in technology and politics.
Alicia Relinque Eleta, the Spanish translator of The Peony Pavilion, received an award for her long dedication to making Chinese classics available to the Spanish world. “When I was pursuing the Chinese language in the 1980s, people thought I was crazy. But Chinese culture had the magic to cheer up a middle school teacher of mine, who had never smiled at us until after a trip to China.”
From that moment, Relinque Eleta said, “I’ve dedicated my life to pondering the best Spanish rhythms to convey the Chinese original”.
Lebanese publisher Mohamad El Khatib has cooperated with 20 Chinese publishers to present 100 Chinese titles in his native market.
“From the books, the Lebanese people see they share the same values with Chinese, especially in family and relationships with kids,” he said.
Zhao Haiyun, of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said the winners, selected from more than 200 candidates, “have greatly contributed to spreading Chinese culture as well as Chinese stories to the world”.
Established in 2005, the award has honored 88 such writers, publishers and translators from 40 countries.
Zhao said this year, 10 of the 20 winners are from countries involved with the Belt and Road Initiative, “a sign of much closer publishing cooperation with those countries”, he said.
The initiative is also the featured topic for the Beijing International Publishing Forum, an annual key gathering held one day ahead of the book fair held on Tuesday, attracting publishers from home and abroad to share insights into global publishing exchanges.
Wu Shangzhi, deputy minister of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, noted that copyright trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has grown by 20 percent since 2014.
Wu also said the Chinese publishing industry grossed 2.3 trillion yuan ($350 billion) in 2016, a 9 percent year-on-year increase.
Wang Yiwei, professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said of the forum: “The Belt and Road Initiative is a promise Chinese leaders made to the world: not only will China achieve its rejuvenation, it will encourage these countries to rejuvenate and thus create shared prosperity for all.”