Pakistan, China hold Beijing International Book Fair

ISLAMABAD (PEN):The opening ceremony for the Pakistan pavilion at the 28th Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) kicked off  to celebrate the 70th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan.

At the ceremony, Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque expressed his gratitude to the fair’s organizers for making Pakistan the country of honor and giving it the opportunity to “present its literature, history and culture to our Chinese guests.”

“I am confident that Pakistan’s participation in this year’s BIBF will deepen bilateral literary and cultural ties between our two countries,” the ambassador said.

He told the Global Times on Tuesday that more than 150 books covering a wide range of topics and more than 50 photographs and paintings from well-known Pakistani artists are on display at the exhibition.

He also revealed that his favorite work at the book fair is Jinnah, an autobiography of the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and added that Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of China’s four major classic literatary works, was one of the best-selling Chinese books in Pakistan and that books about Confucius are also very popular.

“Pakistan and China enjoy a proud history of linkages between our writers and intellectuals. Under the broad rubric of the ‘Executive Agreement on Cultural Cooperation’ signed in 1965, our two countries have expanded bilateral exchanges in the fields of art, culture, literature and people-to-people exchanges,” Moin ul Haque said.

He added that Pakistan and China also signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Translation and Publication of Classic Works in 2021 to further cooperation in literature and that a complete collection of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems – translated into Chinese by Zhang Shixuan, an eminent professor and translator of the Urdu language – will be published soon in China.

Zhang told the Global Timeshe felt so honored that two of his poems in the Urdu language were on display at the pavilion and that he hoped more cultural exchanges such as academic and literature forums could be held in the future.

Besides the Pakistan pavilion, several Chinese publishing houses are also displaying books in Urdu at the book fair.

Dong Meng, an employee with the China International Publishing Group, told the Global Times that the group usually introduces two to three books from Pakistan to China each year and that publishing houses in Pakistan are more interested in Chinese books related to Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine and topics concerning the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Books about China’s anti-pandemic measures are also very popular in Pakistan,” explained an employee from the Sichuan Publishing House, which publishes Chinese books in Urdu.

According to a book fair employee surnamed Ma, the books at the event are only for display and if visitors wish to purchase a copy, they can do so through the BIBF’s official website.

She noted that due to the global pandemic, many publishing houses overseas were not able to attend the BIBF and that employees who do attend the event must also adhere to very strict pandemic prevention requirements including showing a nucleic acid COVID-19 test from the past 48 hours.

The 28th Beijing International Book Fair is scheduled to be held from Tuesday to Saturday.