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Beyond language gap lies true understanding of a culture

By ERIK NILSSON | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-02 08:03
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It has been a journey of journeys.

It has been an honor to spend the past 15 years with China Daily-more than a third of the media group's history-traveling to every province on the Chinese mainland, covering various dimensions of China's development, to help the world better understand China's realities.

My most recent journey, to Yan'an, Shaanxi province, was particularly meaningful, since I was retracing the footsteps of US journalist Edgar Snow as he chronicled the momentous revolutionary period in the Communist Party of China's history.

And that's especially meaningful to me now, since many internet users have called my new book, Closer to Heaven: A Global Nomad's Journey Through China's Poverty Alleviation, the "New Red Star Over China of the 21st Century" and me the "New Edgar Snow of the New Era".Some even jokingly coined the phrase, "Erik Snow".

Along the way, I've discovered a China that is developing at rates that would be unimaginable, except they're real, going beyond merely providing for material needs to enabling people to lead happy lives in the new era.

China Daily has been a media pioneer for as long as I have worked here.

I'm proud that not only have my written articles been well received but also my videos have received hundreds of millions of views and coverage by national media and international media.

Storytelling styles vary among cultures, but stories don't. They're perhaps written in our genes as a species.

As such, China Daily's synergy of Chinese and international journalists helps not only reduce misunderstandings but also helps the global community better understand the real story of China.

And that's especially important, considering that the uniqueness of China's conditions can be very difficult for many people outside the country to understand.

But understanding is increasingly crucial, as China strides toward the center of the world stage as a force for peace, security and cooperation-as shown by its track records of adhering to peaceful development, stabilizing the global economy during crises, and assisting other countries, including developing nations, in areas such as poverty alleviation and vaccines.

China Daily goes beyond just translating across languages to translating across cultures. As such, it has become the go-to source for the world to learn about China.

For me, working with China Daily isn't just a job or a career, but a life mission to tell China's story to the world.

And I look forward to continuing to advance with China Daily as it makes even greater progress in the years to come-that is, ultimately, the journey of journeys yet to come.

The author Erik Nilsson is a China Daily reporter.

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