Reading with Xi Jinping | An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius

By Xie Ying, Su Yingxiang, Ebulayi (People's Daily Online) 15:57, April 23, 2023

With a leather book cover, a golden overhang, an interlining made from colored paper and edges of the book painted red, the French version of An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius is a classic featuring bookbinding styles from the Age of Enlightenment in France. The book is about the political ideas, ethical thoughts and moral concepts of China more than 2,000 years ago. François Bernier, the author of the book, would never have expected that the French version of the Chinese classic translated by him could be brought to China more than 300 years after he finished it.

The French version of An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius is a national gift. 2019 marked the 55th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic ties. On March 24 of that year, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Nice, France. Before their meeting, Macron presented Xi with the original French version of An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius published in France in 1688.

As a classic of traditional Chinese culture, The Analects of Confucius was introduced to Europe as early as the 17th century, and the status of Confucius in Chinese civilization has constantly been put on par with Socrates by many scholars. Commenting on the influence of Chinese culture in France, Macron said the thoughts of Confucius had deeply inspired French thinkers such as Voltaire and had a profound influence on the French Enlightenment.

After hearing Macron’s introduction, Xi said he would take this precious gift back to China's National Library. President Xi once said that the rich philosophical ideas, humanistic spirit, edifying thoughts and moral concepts of China's fine traditional culture can provide useful inspiration for understanding and transforming the world, for governing the country, and for moral construction.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Wu Chengliang)


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