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Translation and publication of classics to strengthen China-Pakistan deep-rooted friendship

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    17:01, January 08, 2021

China and Pakistan signed a memorandum on translation and publication of classics on January 5, which is expected to give fresh impetus to cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two nations. 

Although diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan were established on May 21, 1951, the interaction between them started thousands of years ago. Xuan Zang, China’s famous Buddhist monk and translator, visited Pakistan over 1,300 years ago, creating a cultural bond that still thrives today.

The ancient Silk Road also served as a cultural tie connecting China and Pakistan. Traders from China, traveling to Europe via the Silk Road, communicated with locals in Pakistan, bringing opportunities for people from both sides to learn each other’s culture.

Photo taken on Nov. 8, 2020 shows an Orange Line metro train arriving at a station in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, which is an early-harvest project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. (Xinhua/Sajjad)

The foundation of Chinese-Pakistani friendship is solid and deep. In the early days of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the priority of our relations was primarily political and diplomatic. Cooperation between China and Pakistan enhanced rapidly, with agreements signed between the two countries in many sectors, including cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, etc.

The signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2013 opened many avenues of cooperation on the economic front. Initially, the focus was on power projects and infrastructure developments. In phase II, cooperation was enhanced in more areas, such as agriculture, industrialization, social sector, health, and poverty eradication.

The success of CPEC is a fruitful result from China and Pakistan’s mutual understanding and harmonious relations. There is a need to understand each other's culture, language, traditions, history, political system, and governance.

Under the newly signed agreement, the two sides agreed to publish 50 classics considered to be the most classic, meaningful, and top-rated in the two countries in the next five years, with experts' joint efforts in culture and publication from both sides. Some famous books and publications may be translated into each other's language. There will also be cooperation among media outlets of the two countries.

It was recently noted that publishers on both sides are eager to strengthen collaboration and bring the two “iron brothers” closer. The film industry of both countries is also engaged in collaborations.

In addition, the real potential of tourism is crucial to enhance people-to-people contact. Tourists may enjoy the nature and hospitality of each other and at the same time, through interaction, learn each other's culture, traditions, strengths and potentials. Tourism may become a useful tool to promote harmony and opportunities for collaboration.

The signing of this agreement is also part of the activities to mark the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan. Both governments are committed to highlight the importance of the anniversary and generate more avenues of cooperation and collaboration in all-dimensions. It is expected that after the pandemic, many new projects and activities will emerge. This agreement may only be the first step, but many other activities will be visible for the rest of the year. It is the second memorandum on translation and publication of classics signed by China with an Asian country, following the one signed with Singapore on December 8, 2020.

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected]

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