Stamp honors manifesto's Chinese translator

Yang Meiping Song Yiyang
Story behind the first full translation of "The Communist Manifesto" is recreated on a commemorative stamp to be launched in Shanghai and Yiwu on Saturday. 
Yang Meiping Song Yiyang
Stamp honors manifestos Chinese translator
Ti Gong

A commemorative stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the first Chinese translation of the full text of “The Communist Manifesto” will be released on Saturday in Shanghai and Yiwu.

In Shanghai, the launch ceremony will be at the former residence of Chen Wangdao, translator of the work by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The residence is now the museum of “The Communist Manifesto.” 

Chen was the first president of Fudan University after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Yiwu in Zhejiang Province was his hometown. The university renovated Chen’s former residence in Shanghai on Guofu Road into the museum of “The Communist Manifesto” on the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth in May 2018.

The 50x30mm stamp, with a face value of 1.2 yuan (17 US cents), has a portrait of 30-year-old Chen writing with his right hand while his left holds zongzi, a traditional glutinous rice dumpling, dipped with ink .

The story is that when Chen was working on the translation in 1920, his mother had put zongzi with a bowl containing brown sugar on his desk. She called out to asking if there was enough sugar, and Chen answered it was sweet enough.

But when she came back to the room, she saw Chen’s lips covered in ink. Chen had dipped the zongzi into his ink without realizing his mistake.

The first Chinese edition of the full text of the manifesto was published in August the same year.

Li Chen, designer of the stamp, said he wanted to recreate the history of the book’s birth.

“The scene is so affecting and gives people a feeling that Chen Wangdao was totally motivated by the truth and stayed aloof from mortal life,” he said. “Through the design, I hope to express his spirit of pursuing the truth tirelessly.”

President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized the importance of “The Communist Manifesto.” In June, he replied to a letter from volunteers in the museum who are Fudan students with words of encouragement and saying that telling stories about Chen and spreading Marxist theory was very significant.

The letter made Li add an image of the museum to the design.

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