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Chinese books a major attraction at Cairo fair

China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-12 07:40

Publications suitable for all ages interest visitors to the book fair at the Egypt International Exhibition Center in Cairo on July 4. REUTERS

CAIRO-At the ongoing 52nd edition of Cairo International Book Fair, three pavilions introducing Chinese books and cultural products notably attract Egyptian visitors.

"I'm interested in Chinese culture and literature. That is why I come here every year to buy new books on the subject," Ahmed Medhat, a graphic designer, says.

For Medhat, the CIBF is a great place to find books about China, especially its history and literature.

"You cannot find such books anywhere else in Egypt … I buy tens of books every year from the CIBF. These books bring me closer to the Chinese people and their culture," Medhat adds.

The CIBF, which kicked off on June 30 and will run until Thursday, is held at Egypt International Exhibition Center with the participation of 1,218 publishers from 25 countries amid strict implementation of anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures.

This year, the two-week annual event launched an online platform for the fair to provide relevant online services and activities to limit the number of daily visitors in accordance with those precautionary measures.

At the heart of the fair, three Chinese pavilions, which are affiliated with Cairo-based Chinese-Egyptian Wisdom House for Cultural Industries institution, can be easily seen.

Chinese flags and bright red lanterns decorate the pavilions and dangle over the bookshelves, attracting visitors who want to learn more about China.

"Our participation is unique this year as we have three pavilions focusing on Chinese culture… we have books in Arabic, Chinese and English," says Ahmed al-Saeed, chairman of the Wisdom House institution.

At the three pavilions, Wisdom House displays more than 500 titles focusing on Chinese culture, civilization, literature, politics, science as well as educational books for children, al-Saeed points out.

"We have 50 new titles, 10 of them tackle China's experience in fighting COVID-19 pandemic. We also have new titles on the experience of the Communist Party of China and China's socialism," he adds.

Al-Saeed says that the three pavilions have witnessed a huge turnout, noting that more Egyptians are currently willing to learn more about China.

"Chinese is now being taught at 24 Egyptian universities. Egypt and China also signed a cooperation protocol to teach the Chinese language in pre-university schools in Egypt as a second optional foreign language," al-Saeed says.

Since its establishment in 2011, al-Saeed says, Wisdom House has been focusing on publishing China-related books in Arabic to enhance China-Arab cultural exchange.

At the Wisdom House pavilion focusing on children's books, Nehal Hassan, a physician from Cairo, picked up some Chinese language learning books for her two children.

"The Chinese language is spreading rapidly and I want my children to learn it," she says, adding that learning the language removes cultural barriers between the Egyptian and Chinese peoples.

She cites Chinese-Egyptian cooperation in numerous fields, adding that learning the Chinese language will help her kids find better opportunities in the future.

"The book fair is the right place for me to find such great Chinese educational books for my children… I'm sure they will love to learn Chinese," Hassan says.


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