China through British Eyes
Launch of new books and donation of books

       In the morning of March 12, on the first day of the London Book Fair 2019, the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) held a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the UK at the level of chargés d'affaires. The theme was “China through British eyes”. Mr Ma Hui, Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Mr Liu Dawei, Vice-President of China International Publishing Group (CIPG), Mr YU Peng, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Ms XUE Ling, Director of the London Office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Lord David Wilson and Lady Natasha Wilson, Lord Michael Bates and Lady Xuelin Li Bates, and Professor Martin Albrow, Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences, attended the event.

      The new book launch and donation of books event was hosted by the CIPG, supported by the Cultural Office of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, the London office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, organised by New World Press and the Global China Institute and its Global Century Press. The event was chaired by Ms. Huang Wei, Director of the Editor-in-chief’s office of the CIPG. 

        

Mr MA Hui, Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the UK and Mr Liu Dawei, Deputy Director of the CIPG, delivered speeches.


      Minister Ma Hui said that this year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and the 65th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the UK at the level of chargés d'affaires. At such an important moment, the meaning of using this opportunity at the 2019 London International Book Fair with the theme of “China in the eyes of the British" is profound. Vice-President Liu Dawei said that this “Sino-British interactive” themed book exhibition was showcasing more than 100 books published by the Chinese Foreign Languages Bureau over the past 70 years, which are read by people in China and the UK in the interests of mutual understanding. These books are the historical witnesses and cultural symbols of the humanistic exchanges between the two countries. They also reflect the profound friendship of “similarity and connection between people's hearts” between the Chinese and British people.

      Subsequently, Mr. TONG Meng, Director of the Copyright Department of New World Press, and Professor Chang Xiangqun, Editor-in-chief of Global Century Press, introduced the two publishers and their collaboration in publishing in the past five years. Mr Tong Meng said that the cooperation between New World Press and Global Century Press began in 2014. In the blink of an eye, five years have passed. The scene at which the first signing for strategic collaboration took place is still vivid in his mind. The collaboration has been full of challenges and difficulties. Owing to the different environments we are in, we have had different views on many issues during the period. However, when we see the books successfully co-published, coming into the public domain and receiving high praise, both parties think that all our efforts have been worthwhile. He said he believes that future cooperation between us will be better and better! Professor Xiangqun Chang said that, although Global Century Press was only founded five years ago, as a specialist publisher, it has developed a number of unique characteristics. It is the first publisher in the world to focus on bilingual publications of studies of China in comparative perspective, Chinese perspectives of the world or human knowledge, and non-Chinese perspectives of China in a global context. GCP is particularly focused on comparing and contrasting the Chinese and the non-Chinese. For example, we published an updated edition of a book on pingju by John Chinnery as Pingju: Real Life Opera and a ‘Rural Chinese Shakespeare¸ inviting attention to the comparison between the Chinese and the Western ‘Shakespeares’. Similarly, there are some similarities between Lord Bates and Fei Xiaotong, the pioneering Chinese sociologist and anthropologist. Fei’s work had a great influence on China’s social economic development, and Bates’s book provides some useful thoughts and information for understanding China from a comparative perspective. We hope that our publications promote a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of China and Chinese people in the global context, and at the same time provoke thought, study and action, adding to the sum of human knowledge and promoting a more harmonious and peaceful human community.  


  Lord Bates, Professor Martin Albrow and Dr France Wood gave excellent speeches on the theme “China through British Eyes” from the perspectives of Chinese society, politics, thought and culture, based on the books they had written or to which they had contributed a foreword. Lord Bates asked what the anecdotes in his books tell us about modern China: two things, he said, which may seem paradoxical. On the surface life, continues unchanged outside the metropolis and yet, at the same time, underneath it is changing all the time (e.g. steel works are closing, villages are getting clean water and people are receiving pensions) because of decisions taken in the metropolis. On the surface, other countries and cultures are seeking to become more fiercely independent and yet underneath we are becoming more and more interconnected and interdependent. The more time we spend talking to real people about their lives, the less of a problem diversity and difference become. Professor Martin Albrow said that China now, with its Belt and Road Initiative, is for the first time in its history taking its unique national experience into a wider world far beyond its traditional boundaries. This venture is complementary to, and draws upon some of the features of economic globalization and its institutional structures. But its main difference from the Western-inspired models of governance is that it looks to shared goals rather than the imposition of rules. In other words, although the success of China’s opening-up depends on the adaptation and assimilation of both Marxism and Western economic and social science into its own cultural traditions, it does not approach other cultures from a standpoint of superior virtue or knowledge, but in the spirit of finding common goals and shared projects. Dr Frances Wood said that John Chinnery was interested in pingju, the modern transformation of a popular cultural form of opera. One of his most lovable characteristics was his sense of humour and he enjoyed the combination of scandal and local themes in pingju – with stories sometimes reflecting items in the popular press. His book introduces an original and modern genre which reflects local concerns, developing a traditional format for the 20th century. It also reflects John Chinnery’s compassion for suffering artistes and his enjoyment of humorous themes and dialogue by the pingju writer Cheng Zhaocai, the “Chinese village Shakespeare”.

       

       Launching Walk Your Dream (English edition) and Pingju: Real Life Opera of Northern China (English edition) published by New World Press, as well as Walk for Peace: Transcultural Experiences in China (enlarged English edition) and Pingju: Real Life Opera and a ‘Rural Chinese Shakespeare’ (updated English edition), published jointly by New World Press and Global Century Press.

      Then the CIPG held a book donation ceremony, Lord and Lady Bates, Dr Wood presented the above four books to Cambridge University and the University of Westminster, received by Charles Aylmer, Head Librarian at the University and Professor Hugo de Burgh, Director of the China Media Centre respectively.

        Mr Liu Dawei, Vice-President of CIPG, presenting the new books published by New World Press and Global Century Press to Lord and Lady Wilson. Finally, he presenting multilingual China-themed books to Mr YU Peng, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

      Some guests at the book donation ceremony.

      The "Sino-British interactive themed book" exhibition was the first themed book exhibition, representing many views and mutual appreciation among people from all walks of life in China and the West, at the London International Book Fair since its inception. The event attracted several prominent figures from political, academic, cultural and publishing circles of China and the UK, promoting exchanges and understanding between the Chinese and the British. It was a highlight of the London Book Fair.

       

(Thanks to the participants for providing and giving permission to use their photos.)

Product details

1) Walk Your Dream 

Author: The Rt. Hon. Lord Michael Bates
Pages: 315 
Language: English and Chinese
Publisher: New World Press (March 2019)
Product Dimensions: 170x230mm
ISBN 978-7-5104-6732-5

2) Walk for Peace:Transcultural Experiences in China (enlarged edition)

Author: The Rt. Hon. Lord Michael Bates
Book Series: Transcultural experiences with 'three eyes' No. 2
Pages: 388
Language: English
Publisher: Global Century Press and New World Press (March 2019)
Product Dimensions: 170 x 244 mm
ISBN 978-1-910334-38-6 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-910334-40-9 (hardcover)
DOI https://doi.org/10.24103/TETE.en.pb.2019a
DOI https://doi.org/10.24103/TETE.en.hb.2019a


About the book

In 2015, the author, the Rt Hon. Lord Michael Bates walked 1,059 miles from Beijing to Hangzhou, raising over £90,000 for the China Red Cross. The book consists of 71 diary entries and dozens of photos taken of and by the author on the walk. It also includes five Appendices, which provide information related to the ‘Walk for Peace’ series. In 2018, the author walked 160.7 miles from Beijing to Tangshan Caofeidian, raising over £365,550 to set up a Sino-British vocational education scholarship, helping 100 students from poor areas, and the Princes Foundation in the UK. This new edition combines the previous book as Part I and the new diary entries and reflections as Part II.

Extracts from Walk for Peace

‘My chosen mode of getting around on my three-month visit to China was an unusual one – walking. I was undertaking a charity walk from Beijing to Hangzhou, roughly following the Grand Canal connecting the two cities and extending some 1,000 miles …. When you walk, you need to engage with the communities you walk through in a real way – seeking food, water, shelter and advice on directions.’ - from 2015 walk

’In each country I walk through, 25 so far (Editor's note: 18 in 2015), what strikes me most are not our differences, which are trivial, entirely cultural and massively over-stated, but our similarities, which are vast, awe-inspiring and largely unexplored.’ - from 2015 walk

'In addition to the East learning from the West, I hope the West can learn from the East. I believe our human civilisation has become out of balance. To address the imbalance requires cultures to be true to themselves while being open to others. I think Tongzhou hits the mark in this quest.' - from 2018 walk

“There are many similarities between Professor Fei Xiaotong and Lord Bates. As a pioneering Chinese sociologist and anthropologist, Fei was Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Vice-President of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and Bates was vice-Chairman of the UK House of Lords, and is State Minister of International Development in the UK government. At the launch of Bates’s Walk for Peace at the 2017 London Book Fair, Global Century Press and New World Press signed an agreement to jointly publish three social scientific popular books by Fei. Bates’s Walk for Peace has similar features to Fei’s books. Fei’s work had a great influence on China’s social economic development, and Bates’s book provides some useful thoughts and information for understanding China from a comparative perspective. Beside, Fei Xiaotong lived a lifelong commitment to the idea of 'being for the benefit of the people'. Bates has carried out charitable walks in more than 20 countries.” – from the Postscript, by Prof Xiangqun Chang, President of Global China Institute

About the author, translator and editor

The Rt. Hon. Lord Michael Bates, author, Member of House of Lords, Minister of State for International Development, former Deputy Chairman and Deputy Speaker of House of Lords; former Minister of State for Home Office, UK. Lady Xuelin Li Bates, translator and editor, Chairman of Walk for Peace Foundation, UK; Honorary President of the Confederation of Chinese Association UK; President of Zhejiang UK Association; Vice President of Zhejiang Overseas Exchange Association. Since 2011, with the help of Lady Bates, Lord Bates has carried out the following charitable walks:

  • Walked 160.7 miles from Beijing to Tangshan Caofeidian for Walk Your Dream, raising over £365,550 for setting up a Sino-British vocational education scholarship, helping 100 students from poor areas, and the Princes Foundation in the UK (2018)
  • Walked 636 miles from London to Edinburgh for UK solidarity walk, raising over £50,000 for the British Red Cross (2017)
  • Walked 1,865 miles from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Truce, raising over £250,000 for UNICEF (2016)
  • Walked 1,059 miles from Beijing to Hangzhou, raising over £90,000 for the Red Cross (2015)
  • Walked 1,041 miles from London to Berlin, raising over £40,000 for Friedensdorf International (2014)
  • Walked 518 miles from London to Derry, raising over £50,000 for Save the Children (2013)
  • Walked 2,916 miles from Olympia to London to raise awareness of the 2012 Olympic Truce (2012)

3) Pingju: Real Life Opera of Northern China (Original edition)

Author: John Chinnery 
Language:
English
Product Dimensions:
240 x 168 mm
Page:
315
Publication Date:
08/2016
ISBN:
9787510457166, 7510457165
Publisher:
New World Press

4) Pingju: Real Life Opera and a ‘Rural Chinese Shakespeare’ (Updated edition)

Author: John Chinnery
Book Series: Transcultural experiences with 'three eyes' No. 3
Pages:214 
Language: English
Publisher: Global Century Press and New World Press (March 2019)
Product Dimensions: 170 x 244 mm
ISBN 978-1-910334-70-6 (paperback)
ISBN 78-1-910334-71-3 (hardcover)
DOI https://doi.org/10.24103/TETE.en.pb.2019
DOI https://doi.org/10.24103/TETE.en.hb.2019

About the book

“This is a very important book. It introduces a significant dramatic form which is completely unknown in the West, though most tourists who visit China will be familiar with Peking Opera. Pingju is so much more. It is a local form, it is a significant form, born out of the period of crisis and reform just a hundred years ago. With his familiarity with traditional Chinese culture and traditional Chinese literature, John Chinnery explains its development with a broad understanding of the cultural and historical background, and with great clarity. His sympathy for the extraordinary hardships experienced by the Pingju troupes and his empathy with the actors inform his profound scholarship.”  – from Foreword to this book, by Dr Frances Wood, former Head of Chinese Collections at the British Library 

This updated edition differs from the original in three ways. First, the title has been changed to Pingju: Real Life Opera and a ‘Rural Chinese Shakespeare’ in order to highlight the story of the writer of Pingju opera. Second, the book has been revised to accord with our house style. Third, almost all of the Chinese references have been translated into English, and their publishers and publication dates added. Without this it would be almost impossible to identify these Chinese sources.      

About the Author

John Chinnery (1924-2010) was a British sinologist, who worked at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) from 1943 to 1964, before moving to Edinburgh University, where he served as Head of the Department of Chinese for nearly 25 years (1965-1989). He was one of the first Britons to befriend communist China after the Second World War, and, together with Joseph Needham and Han Suyin, he founded the Scotland–China Association in 1966. He married his second wife, Chen Xiaoying, in 1970 and lived in China in later life. His publications include, in addition to this book on Pingju (first published as Pingju: Real Life Opera of Northern China, 2016), The Life and Works of Lu Xun (2014), The Civilization of Ancient China (2012), Treasures of China: the glories of the Kingdom of the Dragon (new edition 2011, 2008), The Sacred East: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto (co-author, 2003), The Memoirs of Xin Fengxia (translation, 2001), Land of the Dragon: Chinese myth (co-author, 1999), Corresponding English and Chinese Proverbs and Phrases: with explanations and examples (co-author, 1984), Mao Tsé-Tung Unrehearsed: talks and letters, 1956–1971 (co-author, 1974) and What is Happening in Vietnam? (1956).

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