Dire need to narrow down the gap of understanding about China in the West

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online) 17:27, August 30, 2022

There still exists a huge gap in understanding about China in the Western world that has left significant room for misinterpretation of the other side. This has caused a great deal of tension and confrontational feelings between China and the West. In order to narrow down the gap, it will require making an effort to better understand and appreciate each other while upholding an attitude of forbearance and tolerance. Chinese society is by its nature peace-loving and open. It also tries to understand other cultures and in this way it is also quite accommodating.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has encouraged foreign experts with the Foreign Languages Press to contribute more to promoting exchanges and communication between China and other countries in the world and building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks on Aug. 25, 2022, in a letter replying to these foreign experts.

In the letter, Xi also extended greetings to all members of the publishing house on the occasion of marking its 70th founding anniversary.

The experts, coming from different countries and cultural backgrounds, have shared the love of China and Chinese culture and made significant contributions to the country's translation and publication of works that serve foreign readers, Xi wrote in the letter.

Highlighting that the CPC has led the people in pioneering a uniquely Chinese path to modernization and creating a new model for human advancement, Xi said that accurate and expressive translation will help the world better understand China in the new era and play a significant part in promoting exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign civilizations.

He urged the foreign experts to continue to pool their strengths in telling China's stories with an excellent translation that can easily break linguistic and cultural barriers so that more foreign readers can understand China.

Founded in 1952, the Foreign Languages Press was the first publishing house to produce publications in foreign languages after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. It has translated and published more than 30,000 publications in over 40 languages, with global distribution of more than 400 million copies.

Five foreign experts with the publishing house recently wrote to Xi describing their experiences in translating and publishing books such as "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China" and expressing their pride at engaging in work that helps international readers to understand China.

Having studied in China in the 1980s, I acquired a good understanding of Chinese society. By virtue of living in China for almost 13 years, and understanding the language, I now have good knowledge of Chinese culture, traditions, customs, politics, and governance, among other domains.

I have been writing and contributing regularly to the Chinese media as well as the international media. I have produced around 2,000 articles, interviews, presentations, and lectures globally, in addition to promoting Chinese culture, traditions, customs, festivals, politics, governance systems, and Chinese soft power.

I am committed to narrowing down the gap between the Western world and China. It might have not had a visible impact immediately, but by educating my readers I have developed and achieved a considerable understanding of China and its role in the world.

I have published written pieces in the Chinese media as well as in the international media, including those in American, British, European, Russian, Middle Eastern, and Asian media. The readership for my articles has grown exponentially and increasingly more people are reading my articles, which is especially true of researchers, who often utilize my work in their research as a reference and cite it in their publications.

I am optimistic that with the passage of time, I will have a visible impact on the global arena by promoting the Chinese perspective and narrowing down the gap between the Western world and China.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a non-resident 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].

The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of People's Daily Online. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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