During preparations for the 2020 London Book Fair (LBF), Professor Martin Albrow, Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences and Honorary President of the Global China Academy, received invitations from China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and New World Press to express his concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in China. On 24th February he wrote: “Sometimes it is misfortune that brings people together. COVID-19 is a tragedy for a few poor souls, a very bad experience for many more, but creates fear in the whole world. Nothing makes us more aware of our common humanity than a disease we cannot cure, that knows nothing of our borders, our ideologies and our class divisions. China has been acting for all of us in its struggle to contain the virus, in sharing news of its origin and spread, of its preventive measures, of its care for the sick and research for a vaccine. China is showing the best kind of leadership, encouraging the rest of the world to draw from the example it provides.”
On 5th March, the day after the LBF’s cancellation announcement, Professor Albrow gave a joint interview to Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, China International Radio and other media. He said: “The Chinese government has done its very best. They inform the rest of the world, and the measures that they take have set an example to the world. Because the Chinese government depends on the people. And one of the most remarkable things I think for the outside world is to show how the Chinese people themselves cooperate, work hard, their self-discipline is extraordinary, and they maintain a good spirit throughout the crisis. … When it comes to the virus, the boundaries don't exist, races don't matter, we are all of one human family. I think this is a great example that even one family needs leadership, China has given leadership here, they will continue to do so, they are doing research at the moment to find a vaccine. The rest of the world looks to China. Every country is responding differently, and that as well is not necessarily a bad thing, because one or two countries, they may find more effective ways, so the diversity of the world also responds to the virus, but it is very big challenge and it does remind us that we are one people, one world with a shared future.”
On 6th March, XIE Xiaocheng, the General Manager of Cypress Books Company (UK) Ltd, presented some books and magazines to be displayed on a stand together with other books that were to have been launched at the LBF. They included China’s Battle against the Coronavirus, Wuhan in Coronavirus Lockdown and the magazine China Pictorial in English and Chinese editions. They were published by the Foreign Languages Press of the China International Publishing Group. Other books displayed at this “mini joint preview” were three classics by Professor Fei Xiaotong, the famous Chinese sociologist and anthropologist, which had been republished jointly by Global Century Press and New World Press to commemorate the 110th anniversary of Fei’s birth.
General Manager XIE Xiaocheng, Cypress Books Company (UK) Ltd, observed: “At present, countries around the world are battling the COVID-19 epidemic. Seven publishers affiliated with CIPG (China International Publishing Group) have collected materials and selected topics from journals and online media interviews and reports to include in the abovementioned books, China’s Battle against the Coronavirus, Wuhan in Coronavirus Lockdown, as well as in Facing the Black Swans: Psychological Counselling for Youth in Crisis, which record the hardships, journey and present situation of the Chinese people in fighting the epidemic. These books were published quickly, in various forms. They shared Chinese experiences and anti-epidemic stories relating to government measures, prevention, control methods, psychological counselling and international support, and expressed respect for the medical staff and all staff members, as well as their support to all countries in the world fighting the COVID-19 epidemic.” (See Jointly Republishing Three Books to Commemorate the 110th Anniversary of Professor Fei Xiaotong's Birth (1910-2005)).
Enxi Chang (above right), who is of Chinese–British mixed race, from King's College London, was present at the book display, where Mr XIE (above left) praised his video recitation of his poem railing against “viral discrimination”, published in the China Daily on 3rd March, and encouraged him to participate in various forms of cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.
I saw countless Asians in face masks stared at with fear and disdain by those around them
I saw scaremongering news articles and posters about what could happen over here despite the clear lack of threat
I saw comments and memes on twitter fb and ig about how this is karma for the Chinese being disgusting or fucking up the environment or the human rights issues that are no fault of the Chinese people
I saw people describing Chinese presence across the world as an ‘infestation’
‘God they’re everywhere’
I didn’t see any outpourings of grief for the 108 who have died
I didn’t see any #Pray4Wuhan hashtag
I didn’t see any viral fundraisers to help Wuhan
Just finger pointing
Just racism disguised as politics
When i got home i started crying
I cried for my people who have been through so much pain over the last 200 years
I cried for my people who have been colonised, massacred, invaded, lied about, raped and dehumanised
I cried for my people who have finally started to recover and blossom only for the world to call us an infestation
I cried for how the world forgets how fucked china was just a few decades ago so they can paint this narrative that Chinese people are rich imperialists as if we were the ones who spent over a century colonizing the world
I cried for my people who are called brainwashed by the same people who voted for trump, Brexit and Boris
I cried for how Sinophobia is so normal these days
I cried for how the Chinese diaspora is so quick to throw our own people under the bus for clout
I cried for how easy it is for so many ‘woke’ people i know to spit racism and dress it up as geopolitics or human rights concern
I cried for my family and friends
I cried for all the brave, compassionate, hardworking, resilient, funny, brave, intelligent, talented, selfless, generous, open-minded, wise, creative, tolerant, wonderful Chinese people I’m blessed to have in my life
I cried for my people who have been locked indoors for the past six days but are cheering and singing from the windows, who are making tiktoks and memes to make the best of their situation and staying strong despite how horrifying shit is
I cried for my grandma who came back from china last week with a slight cold and how even though she got better the next day she still decided to Lock herself in her room and avoid us for the next 14 days on the slimmest chance she somehow contracted the coronavirus even though she wanted to celebrate lunar new year with us
I cried for how many more of these people there are that have died because of this virus, or how many more are in critical condition and won’t live to see tomorrow
I cried for how their stories will go untold their lives will be unknown because no one in the west cares about Chinese people if it isn’t about politics or food or whose going to manufacture everything we use
‘God they’re everywhere’
Yes, we are. and I’m glad.
We will get through this like we always have. and we will come out of it stronger like we always have.
and that’s not something to fear
That’s something to celebrate.
Come on 武汉加油!
On 7th March, thanks to the good offices of Global Century Press and Cypress Books, Professor Albrow was presented with the English versions of China's Battle against the Coronavirus and Stories of Courage and Determination, after which he recorded a video to be released on CIPG’s “cloud”. He said: “The whole world has been astonished by China's determination to beat the new virus, COVID-19.And we also have been informed by that determination and it's an encouragement to the rest of the world. So we have to be delighted that the Foreign Languages Press, a section of the China International Publishing Group, has already published two attractive books in double-quick time to inform the rest of the world. … These stories from Wuhan in particular show the effect of the virus on people's everyday lives and how they respond to the challenge. This is an example of how China can offer leadership at a time when the world is in desperate need of it. It so happens that it is misfortune that can sometimes bring the world together. This is the community of shared future, the community in adversity, but of course it shows how different cities in China and different people respond in different ways. So it's also diversity in adversity. I strongly recommend these books to the English-speaking readership of the world.”
Mr. Mwika Nyangibo, accountant to the Global China Academy, is seen above inspecting the new books.
Professor Xiangqun Chang FRSA, President of Global China Academy, Honorary Professor of University College London, said: “The 2020 London Book Fair has been cancelled owing to COVID-19 outbreak. Hence, the scheduled launch of the two abovementioned books and the magazine from China on the virus have been turned into a ‘cloud book launch event’ at the CIPG in Beijing. A mini joint display of the above books and magazines, together with Fei Xiaotong’s three books, was held in London, hosted by Global Century Press and Cypress Books. This event signified the continuity of our collaboration, no matter how large or small, or under what circumstances. The publications demonstrated at a highly appropriate juncture how the Chinese people have fought the coronavirus and shared their experiences with the world, at a time when we are all suffering from its effects.”
Special thanks to Mr. DU Yichao, Chevening Scholar, FCO, UK, Director of Wuxi Institute of New Culture, China, and his colleagues for their hard work and professionalism in transcribing text, translating English–Chinese subtitles and producing the videos.
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