Chinese publisher donates 1m yuan of books at book fair
China Publishing Group Corp, one of China's biggest publishers, has donated books worth around one million yuan (US$137,428) to 10 libraries and community centers in Shanghai.
The donation was made at the publisher's signature "Reader's Forum" on the opening day of the Shanghai Book Fair on August 16, which runs through next Tuesday. Held for the first time in Shanghai, the forum was also the book fair's main forum this year.
"It's the tradition of our reader's forum to make such donations, since the forum that started in 2008 is intended to be a carnival for readers," said Mao Yuansheng, deputy general manager of the group's communications and media branch.
"It is the first time that we have held the forum in Shanghai, and we hope that readers at the book fair will enjoy the face-to-face discussion with writers, as always."
Nearly 1,000 readers joined the forum where seven writers shared their perspectives on poetry, civilization, technology, and how to encourage children to read, among other subjects.
"When we talk about civilizations, that refers to both material and spiritual treasures created by people of the civilization" said Ge Jianxiong, a professor from Fudan University whose recent book discusses the relationship between Chinese civilization and the Yellow River. "The material treasures change over time, and the spiritual ones accumulate with their essence remaining unchanged.
"For Chinese civilization, what remains unchanged for all these centuries is the concept of home, and we are still carrying on that idea."
Archeologist and professor Xu Hong explained the use of archeology as "useless if we only look at material demands."
"This subject becomes significant when we start moving from the animal side of human beings to their spiritual demands. It satisfies our unique curiosity of our own history, and helps us find inner peace. When you are looking at rediscovered objects and the history behind them that often traces back hundreds or even thousands of years, everything else becomes tiny."
Twenty-three publishing houses under the China Publishing Group brought more than 5,000 titles to the book fair, including many new titles by well-established writers, recently awarded books, and books on intriguing subjects.
"Dialogue between Dragon and Lion," by historian Wang Hongzhi, explores the significant visit to Beijing led by George Macartney (1737-1806) through the translators employed during the visit and how the documents were translated. Macartney, who was appointed as the first envoy of Britain to China's Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), failed in his goals to open an embassy and open up trade with China. The author looks at how the dialogue between the dragon and the lion was difficult from the very beginning when they chose translators who only knew Latin and Chinese, and thus had to be translated another into English.
"Feminine Space in Chinese Painting" is a collection of essays by art historian and professor Wu Hung, who has taught courses related to the subject at Harvard University and the University of Chicago. He also gave a series of lectures at Oxford in 2016 titled "Feminine Space: An Untold Story of Chinese Pictorial Art."
"I really enjoy coming back to the book fair with so many activities," said Helen Yan, a mother in her early 30s who brought her 6-year-old son to the forum in the afternoon, after attending different events at the fair in the morning. "Many other book fairs are more like trade fairs, but the Shanghai Book Fair has always been a feast for book lovers like me.
"This ambiance of having so many readers and writers in the same big venue, surrounded by books, is unique and nostalgic."
She hoped the visit would also become a precious annual summer memory for her son.