China Cultural Center in Cairo holds seminar on promoting China-Arab literary exchange

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The China Cultural Center in Cairo officially opens on October 29, 2002, the first of its kind in the Arab world. (Image via Xinhua)
The China Cultural Center in Cairo officially opens on October 29, 2002, the first of its kind in the Arab world. (Image via Xinhua)

The China Cultural Center in Cairo held on Friday a video conference under the theme of trends in China-Arab literature exchange after the epidemic, highlighting the role of culture and literature in promoting the bilateral ties.

“Literary exchange that has been carrying on continuously at the official level between the Chinese Cultural Center and several Arab authorities contributes to developing and enriching the potentials of cultural ties,” said Mohsen Fergani, an Egyptian researcher and translator of the Chinese literature.

Fergani, also a professor of Chinese language at Ain Shams University, noted that representatives of Chinese and Egyptian book publication houses and unions have gathered in many meetings and forums that aimed at spreading both countries’ heritage and civilization.

“Translation competitions for young generations have also been jointly held by the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo and Egypt’s National Center for Translation,” he said.

However, only 2,000 Arabic literature books have been translated into Chinese, still a “weak” number “compared with the long history of cultural cooperation between the Arab world and China,” Fergani noted.

Xue Qingguo, head of the School of Arabic Studies of China’s Beijing Foreign Studies University, said Arab literature has a good place in the heart of the Chinese readers over decades, but its translation still suffers difficulties like other old Arab heritage like poetry and plays.

Shi Yuewen, cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt and head of the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo, highlighted the literary exchange as “an important tool to promote mutual understanding between the peoples of China and the Arab countries.”

For his part, Li Jinqi, deputy director of the Outreach Department of the Chinese Writers Association (CWA), said the CWA “has long been committed to promoting friendly exchanges between Chinese and Arab writers and translators.”

“The cooperation in the literature field has built a bridge between China and the Arab countries,” Li added, noting the CWA will spare no effort to solve difficulties for both writers and translators.

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