Presentation of a unique book “China with the eyes of Russian friends” took place in Moscow, in the Institute of Far East of Russian Academy of sciences. Ambassador of China in Russia Li Hui called it “a precious gift to Chinese people”.
Let me share a Chinese picture with you… Magician was just a boy. He went up on a bandstand in the restaurant where we dropped in for lunch on our way to the Great Wall. He was holding a golden ball near his chest. And suddenly this spherical glaring «thing» started multiplying in his hands, the new ones were appearing so quickly. His face was calm but his hands were moving as boneless laces controlling the bubbling balls easily. One more minute and the action changed – the balls started disappearing one by one until the first one was left … This trick with golden balls amazed me but also made me think about the destiny of this country. China in the stage of «reforms and openness», which managed to become one of the world leading countries, is no more and no less than a kind of trick for the rest of the world… And it’s the understanding of this mechanic, of how this trick works, which was the main purpose of the book authors.
China: price for the image which it has in the world
A wonderful book “Chine with the eyes of Russian friends” was presented in an overcrowded hall of the cultural and information center of Russian- Chinese friendship society, which is located in the Institute of Far East of Russian Academy of Science. In the end everybody had some Champaign – as the winners, who managed to realize a remarkable and pained idea. The atmosphere was very festive, people were smiling and talking spiritedly, with a great interest, as those whose life work was understanding of China and strengthening of friendship with this earthshattering neighbour. Among guests there were a lot of Chinese people, standing for friendship with Russia – they were mainly diplomats together with Chinese ambassador in Russia Li Hui, and also scientists, public people, journalists. The first vice-president of Chinese Foundation of international researches, former Chinese ambassador in Russua Liu Guchan arrived from Beijing together with vice-president of the Foundation Yu Chenchi (both are Drs. h. c. of IFE RAS).
Huge efforts were made to publish this unique book with collected works of twenty authors, and it is really an important event in the live of two countries. The book impresses by its feelings and thoughts, analysis and the level of intellectual depth. Each name is a great figure in sinology, diplomacy, and in the international affairs field in general. Academician Mikhail Titarenko, director of the Institute of Far East of Russian Academy of Science, chairman of Russian-Chinese friendship society, outlined this point in his speech on the opening of the event. Almost all authors devoted their lives to study China and the history of Russian-Chinese relationships. «This book is the brainchild of joint project, it appeared as a sign of our respect to Chinese people and admiration with its achievements, of our desire to learn and to communicate, - said Titarenko. – In fact, it’s a cross section of China development for the last hundred years, attempt to find this strange truth and romantic on the way of its development».
The scientists called it a big point of the book – objective look, friendly intonation, attempt to understand and accept the reality of Chinese life, the logic of its internal and foreign policy. He pointed out that the authors were completely free in their work and expressed his confidence that «the readers will not stay indifferent to the thoughts, which nobody tried to reduce to the same level, to the memories and even confessions of the authors about their discoveries, about their understanding of the great Chinese culture and perspectives of friendly collaboration between our countries». So how did the book appear?
The participants talked a lot about it but the essence is expressed in the preface: «Higher management of Russian-Chinese friendship society had this idea for a long time – to make a book of essays and memories of countless friends of China: of those few veterans of the liberation mission of the Soviet Army, which together with Chinese patriots defeated Japanese militarists in 1945, who occupied North-Eastern China in 1930-s, and of thousands of Soviet experts, who helped the new China in 1950-s to restore industry, science, technical and educational fields». Meanwhile the realization of this unusual idea lacked finances and finally this question was solved with the help of Chinese businessmen.
The idea was waiting
The idea of such a book was long waiting to come true. During one of his visits to Russia the former Chinese ambassador in Russia Chan Deguan, now president of Chinese Research Foundation of international problems – one of the brain centers which analyze and work out strategy of foreign policy, - came to the Institute of Far East RAS and suggested its director Titarenko to publish a series of books about China as a joint project. In October, 2011 Beijing sent an official offer to publish a book “China with the eyes of Russian friends”.
As Mikhail Titarenko said in the role of chief editor of the book, «the articles which we received, according to their content and topics may be in short described with one Chinese phrase “Let all flowers bloom…”. As for the second part of the phrase “… and let a hundred school be rivals” – there is no such rivalry between the authors. All essays, memories and notes are filled with sincere sympathy to Chinese people and its great achievements, its also filled with a deep understanding of huge importance of development and strengthening of good relationships, cooperation and friendship between our people and countries». Of course the book touches upon hard times of 1960-1980, when some conflicts between the two countries took place, but all words about it sound only as a good lesson to contemporaries. Finishing his speech, Titarenko noted, that the Institute of Far East in the last ten years published 250 multifold works about China where the country was shown as a participant of the global dialog of civilizations.
These works reflect the price which China had to pay for its achievements and for the image which it has earned. Unfortunately, Chinese people don’t know much about these works because of tiny circulation – just 300-500 copies. The academician also attracted his listeners’ attention to many books on the long table. They include a wide range of topics – from martial arts and cinema, literature and demographic researches to politics, economy and philosophy. “We as scientists are the flag-bearers of friendship between China and Russia, and this is our mission. We don’t embellish China but we show its weak an strong sides as they are, so that people could understand the multiplicity of achievements and difficulties. Russia and China are meant to be together and only having a concept of peaceful coexistence they could save the unique advantage of their cultures’, - said Mikhail Titarenko.
The second speaker was the first vice-president of Chinese Foundation of international researches Liu Guchan, who said that the book was dedicated to the decennary of the Pact of friendship and collaboration and it shows the mutual understanding and good relationships, cultural and historical traditions and real life of Chinese people. Twenty authors shared their vivid impressions about bright palette of Chinese reality and about reformations. “I would like to express my gratitude for this wonderful book on behalf of Chinese Foundation of international researches”, - he mentioned. Liu Guchan also highly praised now-deceased Igor Rogachev, a former ambassador of Russia in China, deputy of Foreign Affairs Minister, who did a lot to improve friendship among the countries, who was a scientist-sinologist, and his last article, very touching, was also included in the book. The speaker thanked academician Mikhail Titarenko for his contribution to the book creation as the chief editor.
Also Liu Guchan expressed his gratitude to the whole team which worked on the book. He said that “China with the eyes of Russian friends” book meant “realization of political spirit of the two countries, aimed at their friendship and strategic partnership”. “Innovation” and “precious gift to Chinese people” – that’s what Ambassador of China in Russia Li Hui said about the book, expressing hope that it would be the first but not the last one. According to his words, “those pages where authors express their positive impressions and friendly feelings towards Chinese people are equally important as those where they talk about existing problems, and their words worth deep analysis and thinking”. Mister Li Hui characterized modern Chinese- Russian relationships in all their variety as “the best period in the history of the two countries relationships”, adding that this point is especially important for dynamic development of strategic partnership. Li Hui outlined that both peoples have extreme interest in each other: annually two millions of Russians visit China and a million of Chinese people come to Russia. The embassy will keep relations with the Russian- Chinese friendship society and with the Institute of Far East, improving friendship between countries, - the ambassador added. The project was “genius as an idea and as a real thing”, said the representative of Russian diplomatic circles Andrey Kulik, director of Asian department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.
The list of authors is so impressive that all texts are trustful. We should do everything to let their words be heard in all social levels, he supposes. “Today in both countries we have a new generation which doesn’t remember any “black” pages of history and knows only good. And this is a great victory, it’s like a precious thing which should be kept carefully – Russian diplomat said. – Partnership between the countries is really total and there is no field missed. Dynamics of our relations and their direction are irreversible now. But we should work further, improving spiritual and social base and keeping to the words – “Forever friends and never enemies!”
“Every sto ne of the past is a step to the future”
Chinese perception of their own civil identity is “based not on their belonging to any social system or political regime and not on the cosmopolitan or universal values but on a strong base of their belonging to a great country, with thousand years of history and traditions says Vadim Shabalin, one of the authors, IFE member, a scientist, a former diplomat, political and social personality. According to his words, “ Chinese patriotism doesn’t depend on revolutions, political campaigns and occasional changes”, - this people is moved by “a proud singularity, which makes Chinese people very special”. And shouldn’t we, Russian people, think deeply about the inner sense of this paradigm and to learn wisdom from our great neighbour? The same point is mentioned by Vsevolod Ovchinnikov, a famous international journalist who started his career in China. “The key feature of the country besides continuity of its five-thousand year history, but also deep respect to it. Chinese people used to think their country to be the center of the universe… They are sure that the stones of the past are the steps of the future”.
“Some political analysts try to assure Russia that her true ally is the West, and not the East, - the scientist said during the book presentation, - but a country can’t change its place of living on the planet. China is a solid strategic rearward of Russia. We should use dynamism of our eastern partner and cling our “far eastern train” to the Chinese locomotive engine. Mission of our countries is to become a Great Silk Road, a bridge between East and West”. «To catch Chinese wind with Russian sails” appealed another author – scientist and writer Alexey Lomanov. “we can learn from each other, work together and harmonize each other in peaceful atmosphere. Chinese mentality has a “twoness principle”, - Lomanov said, - and now it’s time for them to publish a book “Russia with the eyes of Chinese friends”.