• Hong Kong Bookseller Confesses Sneaking Into China

Hong Kong Bookseller Confesses Sneaking Into China (Photo : Getty Images)

 If China revived the concept of the ancient Silk Road trade for modern commerce and music, there is another one for literary works. The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 resulting in the addition of more titles of Chinese books with a wide range of subjects becoming available in bookstores in Egypt.

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Beyond Kung Fu

Before 2011, Arab world readers connected China with Jackie Chan, panda and kung fu only, according to Ahmed Elsaid, an Egyptian publisher operating at the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. But because of the Belt and Road Initiative, more Chinese writers such as Xu Zechen, Justin Yifu Lin and Liu Zhenyen are becoming more popular with readers in the Middle East, China Daily reported.

It provided students in the Arab world who majored in Chinese language at universities a better understanding of the Chinese society, the Chinese people and China’s history, said Elsaid, a Chinese language major at the Al-Azhar University in the Egyptian capital city. He recalled that when he was a student, there were only about 50 Chinese titles for decades. The difficulty of acquiring Chinese books partly challenged him to become a publisher.

It was the same experience for Marine Jibladze of Georgia, a former Soviet state. Except for a small number of books about traditional Chinese culture with foreign translation, there were no other books about China before. Because of the Belt and Road Initiative, there are now books in Georgia about Chinese literature, history and language.

980 Titles, 180,000 Jobs

The initiative funded translations of Chinese books and has supported multilingual versions of 980 titles since 2013 to reach more readers in countries and regions along the modern Silk Road routes, Zhao Haiyun, department chief at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said.

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan added that the initiative generated 180,000 jobs and almost $1.1 billion in taxes revenues along the route, Xinhua News reported.