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New Books on Understanding China
A series of bilingual books unveiling the mysteries of China’s recent development make their U.S. debut at the 2018 BookExpo America
By Yu Shujun | Web Exclusive

Hu Kaimin (middle), Dawn Nakagawa (left) and Shi Xiaojin sign three-party cooperation agreements on co-publishing the series overseas, at the CIPG booth at the 2018 BookExpo America in New York on June 1

The first selection of Understanding China, a series of books telling the stories of contemporary China, were presented to U.S. readers for the first time since their publication at the 2018 BookExpo America (BEA) in New York on June 1.

"Telling the stories of China, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China's communication and interaction with the rest of the world through a series of books is the best way to help those who care about China acquire new knowledge, and gradually allay the suspicions of those who have doubts about China," said Zheng Bijian, head of the editorial board and President of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy (CIIDS), in a message to the promotional event at the BEA. The event was co-hosted by the CIIDS, the China International Publishing Group (CIPG), and the Berggruen Institute (21st Century Council), an international think tank.

Focusing on the theme of understanding China, the series was jointly planned and compiled by the CIIDS and the CIPG, and published in both Chinese and English by CIPG's Foreign Language Press in April. The books presented at the BEA consist of 15 Chinese versions and seven English versions.

Zheng said in his message that the series expounds on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the path taken by China since the reform and opening up over the past 40 years, especially the important decisions the CPC Central Committee has made, major advances it has achieved and new trends and challenges it faces in leading the Party, the country and army since the 18th National Congress of the Party.

Hu Kaimin, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Foreign Languages Press, said in his address that the books were written by the most renowned Chinese experts in various fields, with each focusing on one aspect of today's China. As a leading Chinese thinker and strategist, Zheng himself is one of the authors. Others include veteran Chinese writer and former Culture Minister Wang Meng, former IMF Deputy Managing Director Zhu Min, and Ma Huateng, founder and CEO of Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Zheng said that he strongly recommends the books because of the objectivity of their content, and vivid and concrete descriptions in their writing style. "The writers do not exaggerate the achievements China has made, nor do they shy away from questions that China faces," Zhang explained. "And the books are not simply the authors' academic works, but include stories, which are easy for readers to understand."

Hu added, "In terms of topics and expressions, the books take into full consideration foreign readers' focuses and way of thinking, and the English translations try to meet foreign readers' reading habits." He also was confident that the series "will be accepted, loved and valued by more American readers and friends in various sectors, and will provide a wealth of information and profound insights for the international community in understanding Chinese culture and choices, and adapting to the development of China."

In her speech, Dawn Nakagawa, Executive Vice President of the Berggruen Institute highly praised the academic quality and important value of the series. "For far too long, we have let ideological differences blind us to our common future and the benefits of working together. Indeed we have very different political systems, each with pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses," said Nakagawa. "If we listen to each other and are willing to learn from each other perhaps it would benefit both of our governance systems."

By working with CIIDS on the Understanding China book series and upcoming conference series, which will be held in Beijing again this fall, Nakagawa said that she hopes to continue and expand the dialogue between the organizations.

Hu also said that their next publishing plan is to invite world-renowned scholars and politicians to write books on the theme from their perspectives.

The annual BEA, one of the largest in North America, was held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York from May 30 to June 1, attracting about 400 U.S. and international exhibitors. CIPG displayed a total of 381 books at the expo, with topics ranging from China's social and economic development, culture and literature, as well as Chinese language teaching and learning. The most important exhibits of the CIPG were the multilingual versions of the Xi Jinping: The Governance of China (Volume II) and the English and French editions of Xi’s Up and Out of Poverty.

(Reporting from the New York City)

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

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