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Serial Pleasure: China’s online reading craze is challenging Kindle

To Yuwei Pan, a regular fix of Chinese novels on her smartphone makes her daily commute a pleasure. But these aren’t just normal stories. Chinese e-books are often serialised; readers wait for the latest chapters of a story, much like viewers catch up with the newest episodes of Game of Thrones.

They also provide an interactive reading experience, where readers and writers can discuss and co-develop the plot. “I turn to Kindle for serious books, but I go to Chinese online literature for imagination, fun and freedom,” Pan says. Continue reading

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China launches Tibetan-language literature database

China Monday launched a Tibetan-language literature database to facilitate the protection and development of Tibetan culture and provide resources for future study.

Run by China Tibetology Research Center, the database was established under the approval of the United Front Work Department of Communist Party of China Central Committee.

China has approximately two million ancient books and historical documents in the Tibetan language.

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Sequoia Capital, Perfect World co-invest in Chinese literature site Zongheng

Sequoia Capital China, and Perfect World co-led a new round of financing in Zongheng, a Chinese literature site that provides vertical and horizontal literature contents.

The site is owned by Beijing-based Network Technology Co Ltd. Sheng King Fund, Guonong brothers, Shegjing360, Share Capital, and several institutions also participated in the strategic investment. The size of the deal was undisclosed.

Founded in 2008, Zongheng is a domestic Chinese original literary professional website. It serves as a cultural platform meant to guide the master writers and epic works.

Source: Dealstreetasia.com


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The Australian authors proving a hit in China

By Helen Clark

Australia sends a lot of things to China: iron ore, lithium, wine, meat. And now, China is also the country’s biggest market for books, with more contracts for Australian-penned stories signed with publishers in China than in either the United States or Britain.

Australian Writers’ Week in China has just finished up. This was its tenth year and some of Australia’s heaviest-hitting authors were there to celebrate: Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s Ark (which was made into the film Schindler’s List), Geraldine Brooks and teen author John Marsden, best known for his Tomorrow When the War Began teen series about a group of young people fighting foreign invaders in Australia.

But according to The Sydney Morning Herald, the real show-stopper was Aboriginal children’s author Bronwyn Bancroft, who ended up in tears after a reading at a primary school where the children burst into applause. The event visited eight cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, Xian, Chengdu, Suzhou, Hohhot and Guangzhou. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post


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Big library idea comes from small children

By Huang Zhiling

Construction of the world’s first panda-themed library is expected to start early next year at a primary school in Chengdu, Sichuan province, with the facility expected to open about six months later.

“People worldwide will have free access to it online,” said Zhang Mingrong, headmistress of the Chengdu Panda Road Primary School.

The school has a three-story building, the second floor of which currently serves as a convention center. It will be turned into a studio for videos about pandas. The third floor, currently a library, will be designed with five boat-shaped sections symbolizing swimming in the sea of knowledge.

“Each section symbolizes a continent. The five sections will house publications and audiovisual materials about pandas from Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Oceania,” Zhang said. Read more

Source: China Daily


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China to guide the development of online literature

By Xinhua

The General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has asked the China Writers Association (CWA) to guide online literature and carry out other reforms.

According to a plan to deepen reform of the CWA issued by the office on Thursday, CWA should establish evaluation and incentive systems that will benefit the development of online literature.

The Party’s role in literature work should also be strengthened. For instance, the Party should guide and support works focusing on juveniles and patriotism, as well as realistic and historical topics.

In the meantime, the CWA should organize literature exchange programs among Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and provide more communication opportunities between Chinese and foreign writers. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Loss and lies in modern China explored in Jan-Philipp Sendker’s rich and resonant novel

By Mike Cormack

language of solitudeThe Language of Solitude
by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Atria

The Language of Solitude does not start well. Protagonist Paul Leibovitz yearns for his partner, Christine Wu (both return­ing from Sendker’s previous novel, 2015’s Whispering Shadows). He is financially independent, she the manager of a minor travel agency – both live in Hong Kong. In or close to middle age, both enjoy nice things. He aches for her phone calls but hesitates to send text messages, lest he seem needy. Their initial conversations are near comically anxious. Paul is concern that Christine is less enamoured, less immediately comprehending of his needs and emotions than she once was. So far, so inconsequential.

Then things begin to click. The dis­connect between Paul and Christine comes to seem less an entrance to a romcom, where all the narrative intri­cacies could be solved if only the characters would speak to one another, and more a metaphor for how people, and societies, are silenced. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post


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Chinese bookstores adapt to social changes

By Xinhua

For Gao Hengrui, 20, going to a bookstore is no longer only about buying books, rather, it is a “culture hunt.”

Wine tasting, photo exhibitions, themed lectures — cultural events like these have made bookstores a “must-go” for young Chinese.

“Bookstores today are not just stores, but public spaces where people can relax,” Gao said.

As China’s consumer spending on culture grows, the country’s bookstores are reinventing themselves. Redefining themselves as “knowledge centers” or “cultural hubs,” physical bookstores are reviving an industry in a downturn.

CITIC Books, the book chain owned by Chinese conglomerate CITIC Group, for example, offers value-added services to meet the demand of a niche market.

CITIC Books targets a group of customers it calls “the rising class,” offering them new products in its bookstores, such as drones and 3D-enabled phones. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2017: Highlights include China as ‘Guest of Honour’, The Audiobook Experiences, and more

By Rym Ghazal

This year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will be a special hub of philosophical exchanges as it hosts China, the home of Confucius, and honours one of this region’s most known scholars and philosophers, The Great Sheikh Muḥyiddin Ibn Arabi.

China’s literary participation in the 27th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be the country’s largest in foreign book fairs to date, and its pavilion is expected to reflect its cultural depth and weight, with special participation of Chinese publishers, elite authors, artists and others from all fields of creativity.

“We hope the public will gain a better understanding of our culture and its many features,” said Xiao Guanglu, the representative for China as ‘Guest of Honour’.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Mr Xiao listed some of the activities to be held inside the Chinese pavilion from April 26 to May 2. Read more

Source: The National

 


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Return of religion to China since the death of Mao documented in new book The Souls of China

By Allen Lane

souls chinaThe Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao
by Ian Johnson

The 20th century wrought havoc on religious and spiritual life in mainland China, especially during the Cultural Revolution. Temples were torn down, believers persecuted and priests, monks and nuns subjected to violence and forced to renounce their religious ways. It must have seemed as though all traditional religious practices would vanish from the country.

Yet, since the late 1970s, religion has slowly been returning to China, as millions of Chinese search for something other than material wealth. Some have looked to old religions such as Taoism and Buddhism while others have turned to a more modern import, Christianity, for answers.

By 2014, there were half a million Buddhist monks and nuns worshipping in 33,000 temples across the country, along with 48,000 Taoist priests and nuns affiliated with 9,000 temples – twice the number of temples that existed in 1990. The mainland now has roughly 200 million Buddhists and Taoists while the number of Protestants is growing at a rate of 7 per cent a year. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post