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Chinese books draw many at Cuban fair

By Xinhua in Havana | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-18 07:48

The Chinese pavilion has become one of the most visited areas of this year's ongoing Cuba International Book Fair, attracting locals and foreigners alike.

Many visitors are showing interest in books on traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts, politics, history and culture. The Chinese pavilion is made up of six major publishing houses.

"Since I was a little boy, I've been very interested in Chinese culture and that's why I came to this stand. To my surprise, I was given a Chinese-Spanish dictionary as a gift," Ernesto Vergara, a medical student, said.

Vergara visited the Chinese stands with his friends Javier Ramirez and Daniel Perdomo to appreciate more than 500 different kinds of books that Chinese publishers have brought to Havana.

"I'm really surprised that our culture and political figures have reached Chinese audiences. There's even a biography of Fidel Castro in Chinese," said Ramirez.

The People's Publishing House is one of the major Chinese publishing houses at the fair, presenting literary works about the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, as well as Castro's Chinese-language biography.

"This is our first time at a Cuban book fair and our publishing house has brought more than 100 kinds of books. Most of them have already been sold because we underestimated the Cuban readers' passion for books," Ren Chao, executive vice-president of People's Publishing House, said.

Ren said that visitors to their stand were particularly interested in texts on party discipline, China's economic and political development. One of the most in-demand books is Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, by the president, Ren said.

"These books can help Cuban readers understand how China has come all the way along its path of socialist construction, reform and opening-up," he added.

Cubans also showed enthusiasm for traditional Chinese medicine, which is growing in popularity in the Caribbean nation.

"We have brought 40 different traditional Chinese medicine books to the fair, covering acupuncture, the treatment of complicated diseases and so on. They've been widely accepted by the Cuban readers," Ji Fang, assistant chairman of the People's Medical Publishing Group, said.

Ji said the book fair is a good platform to promote the understanding between people of the two countries as well as a venue to spread knowledge of traditional medicine.

Many of the publishing houses decided to participate in this year's event ahead of the 2018 edition of the fair, when China will be the main guest country.

"As China will be the guest of honor country in 2018, we came here this year for preparations, in a bid to enhance our future cooperation with Cuba. We've been to many international book fairs, but this Cuba book fair is very special," said Yao Xuexue, editor-in-chief of Baihuazhou Literature and Art Press.

The publishing house brought more than 100 kinds of books on literature, traditional culture, social science and humanities to Havana. Most are in Spanish.

"We feel the Cuban people really love books and in the last few days, the pavilions at the fair have been full of people. It is a delight to establish friendly cooperation with the publishing circle in such a country," she said.

This year, the fair runs through Feb 19 and honors Canada as the main guest country.

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