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Sinologist in Russia hails Chinese culture's crucial role

By REN QI in Moscow | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-07-16 07:36

A woman reads a book as she sits in Muzeon Park of Arts during hot weather in Moscow, on May 18, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Foreign sinologists and translators are playing an important role in acting as bridges for the internationalization of Chinese culture.

The books they have translated from Chinese have been well-received overseas, helping to enhance people's knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture through reading.

Artem Kobzev, head of the Department of Ideology and Culture of China at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies, is one of the leading sinologists helping to improve understanding between China and the international community.

"Chinese culture is characterized by realism and humanism. Harmony between individuals and society is regarded as a core value, and this is one of the remarkable characteristics of Chinese culture, which is different from others," Kobzev said.

He added that he remembers his father describing his experiences during a visit to China with a delegation from the former Soviet Union, which prompted Kobzev to study Chinese culture and philosophy at Moscow State University.

Since 2002, Kobzev has visited China for several weeks nearly every year.

"I have visited half of China. Studying this country is an interesting topic, not only because China has a rich and diverse landscape, which is worth visiting more, but also because Chinese culture has a long and profound history, which serves as a precious spiritual treasure for all humankind," he said.

Kobzev has long studied I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination text, and is one of the few Russian experts on Wang Yangming, a calligrapher, military general, philosopher, politician and writer from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

More than 10 books and 1,500 academic papers on the study of Chinese philosophy have been published by Kobzev, many of which have been translated into Chinese, English, French, Polish, Ukrainian and other languages.

In December, he was awarded the 14th Special Book Award of China for his contributions to sharing Chinese culture with the world and promoting communication between Chinese and overseas civilizations.

Organized by the National Press and Publication Administration since 2005, this government award is a top publication prize honoring foreigners who make great contributions to introducing and promoting China, Chinese culture and Chinese publications to the world. To date, 153 writers, translators and publishers from 54 countries have won the award.

In past decades, Kobzev has written most of the articles on Chinese philosophy that have appeared in leading works, including the Great Russian Encyclopedia.

He is impressed by the integrity of Chinese culture, and believes that philosophy is the source of all sciences and cultures, while language and philosophy are interrelated and form a unified whole. This is why his research has not been limited to philosophy.

In addition to philosophy books and papers, he translated into Russian the Confucian classic The Great Learning and the Taoist work Tao Te Ching.

Russian sinology research is among the best in the world, and Kobzev believes that Chinese culture is so "rich" that there is a bright future for cultural exchanges between the two countries.

"China-Russian relations have reached the highest level in history, providing Russian scholars with a new opportunity for a comprehensive understanding of Chinese culture," he said.

Chinese civilization has developed uninterrupted for thousands of years, and it is important to have deeper exchanges between diverse civilizations and culture to promote mutual understanding and achieve harmonious coexistence, Kobzev added.

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