Who can say legitimately claim to be a master of Chinese culture? This was the question proposed at the launch of The Story of China Studies (2012) written by diplomat-turned-author Wang Ronghua.
With over 5,000 years of Chinese culture, it's difficult for anyone, foreigners and Chinese alike, to claim to be experts in this field. In his book, Wang tries to convey the contours of Chinese culture to readers in both English and Chinese. The bilingual book was launched Thursday as part of 19th Beijing International Book Fair in Shunyi district, which wrapped up on Sunday and offered a platform for communication between authors and publishers.
Wang said his book aims to introduce foreign readers to Chinese culture, adding he hoped that Chinese readers would be inspired by the "six masters" of great writers and thinkers in Chinese history - Zeng Guofan (1811-72), Gu Hongming (1857-1928), Zhang Taiyan (1868-1936), Liang Qichao (1873-1929), Wang Guowei (1877-1927) and Chen Yinke (1890-1969).
Wang, who has translated Chinese versions of books including Topaz (1967), The Second Generation (2002) and the biographies of Katherine Hepburn and Alfred Hitchcock, also co-translated the anthology Canadian Short Stories (2005) with Professor Tu Zhen.
"The 'six masters' of Chinese culture lived at the turn of the 19th century and serve as idols for us. My book depicts how they handled the sudden and powerful influx of foreign influences," he said.
Wang, who served as the Chinese ambassador to Iceland from 1998 to 2002, originally wrote his book in English. When it was finished, he presented it to Robert Fletcher, CEO of Publish On Demand Global.
"The book is fantastic. Cao Mali, editor at Flower City Publishing House, was willing to simultaneously launch a Chinese version of it," he said.
After 180 days of editing and revising, the book has now hit bookstores amid high expectations for sales.