The second volume of a collection of writings by Chinese President Xi Jinping, translated from Chinese into 8 foreign languages, was launched today in London.
Prince Andrew, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming and Minister of the State Council Information Office of China Jiang Jianguo spoke at the launch event, which took place in Westminster earlier today.
Xi Jinping: The Governance of China (Volume II) contains 99 speeches and articles by the Chinese president. It was published in Chinese and English in late 2017, but today’s event saw its official launch outside China. Editions in French, Spanish, German, Russian, Japanese, Arabic and Portuguese have also been released.
Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said: “For those hoping to gain an understanding of China’s path, ideas and plans in the New Era, this book is the most authoritative work to look at.”
He went as far as to compare the launch of the book to the publishing of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto 170 years ago, saying that today’s event was of “far-reaching significance to exchanges of mutual learning … between the East and the West.”
Prince Andrew also struck an optimistic tone in his speech, saying there were parallels between the ideas put forward in the book and discussions he had with the Chinese leader when he visited the UK in 2015.
“The ideas that we came up with, looking at entrepreneurship and the interconnectivity of the globe, run right the way through what Xi Jinping wants to create around the world,” he said.
The release comes after ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ was written into the Chinese constitution at the National People’s Congress in 2017 – enshrining the current leader’s ideology alongside those of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
The first volume of Xi’s book may not have been a bestseller in English; its top review on Amazon describes the speeches in the book as “repetitive” and “hard work”. It gained some international attention from Western media when Mark Zuckerberg left a copy of the book prominently visible on his desk during a meeting with China’s former top Internet official Lu Wei in 2014. The Facebook founder is quoted as saying he bought copies for his colleagues and wanted them “to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
Zuckerberg was criticized by some Western media sources for the gesture, who saw his gesture as a show of ‘kow-towing’ towards the Chinese government. But his enthusiasm was mirrored by some of the attendees at today’s event.
“I think (reading this book) will help me to have fuller understanding of the community I’ve got with Chinese friends and colleagues,” said Professor Phil Coates from the University of Bradford, which has joint laboratories with three universities in China.
He suggested that relationships between China and the UK would be eased by people having an open attitude towards the book. “It’s good for (Chinese people) to see that this is a very public and supportive event in London.”