China to use literature to bridge gap with South Africans

2015-12-03 21:11

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Johannesburg - In an attempt to bridge the gap between cultures, the Chinese government has signed a deal with one of South Africa's largest booksellers to promote its literature in the country.

Speaking at the launch of an exhibition on Chinese books at the Exclusive Books store in Hyde Park, north of Johannesburg, on Thursday, China's Minister of State Council Information Office Jiang Jianguo told those in attendance that he hoped the books would "be seen as a bridge to enhance relations between China and Africa".

He also hoped the international community as a whole would understand China and its leader better, through its literature.

Yang Peidong, China's Acting Consul General in Johannesburg said it was important for the world to get to know the modern China. He said the country's growth in its various sectors had created a sense of curiosity about the country across the world, including in South Africa.

"The bilateral relations between China and South Africa developed very smoothly, in every field including politics, culture, science, agriculture etc. So for the people-to-people exchanges, cultural exchange is very important for us, and for the Chinese to know about South Africans and also for South Africans to know about the Chinese."

Exclusive Books CEO Benjamin Trisk said the agreement between the two countries was an important step.

"China is probably, in the next 10 years, [going to be] our major trading partner.

"We need to understand more about China, and we need to understand more about the investment opportunities," Trisk said.

He said it was less about providing more literature for the Chinese community, but rather about serving South Africans and telling them more about the country.

Terry Morris, a member of the Publishers Association of SA, suggested that the cultural exchange initiative begin at foundation level with children.

"One genre of publishing that we should encourage and use as a springboard for the sharing of ideas and cultures is children's books.

"It is at [this] stage of life that we must ensure there is an understanding of cultures," Morris said.

Read more on:    exclusive books  |  johannesburg  |  china

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