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China sends message of friendliness, cooperation, exchanges in London

By Li Wenyun (People's Daily)

10:15, April 23, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The biggest influence of the United Kingdom on the world lies in the English language. The Industrial Revolution began in the United Kingdom, but the country's deepest, widest, and possibly most enduring influence lies in its language through the classic works of literary giants such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and the Bronte sisters. As the most widely used language in the world, English highlights the soft power part of the legacy of the United Kingdom once as an economic powerhouse. English books, together with gunboats, have changed the world.

The Tower of Babel may be just a story, but various languages have indeed made world cultures more colorful and vibrant. Shakespeare told us that books are the nourishment of the whole world. Books that have been translated into many different languages are good sources of "vitamins" that help people develop an optimistic and open-minded attitude toward life, and have contributed to the breathtaking collision and blending of various languages such as Chinese, English, French, Russian, Arabic, and Spanish.

Large-scale book publishing and trading worldwide has promoted the prosperous development of international book fairs. This year's London Book Fair was held from April 16 to April 18. As one of the most important of its kind in the world, the book fair serves as a bridge for cultural exchanges between different countries, especially English-speaking countries.

It is wonderful to see the two beautiful languages of Chinese and English meet at the London Book Fair, Tie Ning, chairperson of the Chinese Writers' Association, said at the fair's opening ceremony.

It is unusually significant for China to show the charm of its culture spanning thousands of years at major international book fairs such as the London Book Fair. Insightful people in the West know that China had long been the world's largest economy before the West's Industrial Revolution, and is the only ancient civilization in human history that has lasted thousands of years without any interruption. Fascinated by the splendid Chinese culture and its history, a large number of foreigners have moved to China, and become respectable treasure seekers who use words to introduce the Chinese culture to the world.

China attended the 41st London Book Fair as the Guest of Honor, leaving people with a deep feeling that in the context of market economy, a country's culture will receive due respect only after it makes remarkable economic achievements. At the opening concert for the London Book Fair whose "Market Focus" was on China, when the familiar tune of "The East is Red Yellow" was played at the city's Cadogan Hall, when British tenor Jonathan Stoughton sang the Chinese song, "Love Song of Kang Ding," the Chinese people present must be deeply touched. The "inferiority complex" plaguing the hard-working Chinese people was somewhat relieved after they had accumulated more than 3 trillion U.S. dollars in foreign exchange in the past 30 years. China has naturally begun strengthening its soft power through overseas cultural publicity and other means after the United States and Europe reluctantly recognized its growing economic power.

Words and books reflect the heartfelt wishes of mankind, and record the development of a country's national spirit. Only after it regains confidence in its culture, the Chinese nation, which has a beautiful language, will get enough say in international affairs, be able to compete with other countries in various fields such as economy and culture, carry forward its civilization, and contribute greatly to global cultural exchanges. As a Guest of Honor at the London Book Fair, China hopes to send the world a message of friendliness, cooperation, and exchanges.

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