The 2021 Beijing International Publishing Forum was held in Beijing on Sept 12, marking the start of the 28th Beijing International Book Fair.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, executive vice president of the Publishers Association of China Wu Shulin said over the last 30 years, the influence of the fair has been increasing, attracting exhibitors from more than 100 countries and regions, up from about 30 at the beginning.
Nearly three decades ago, the book fair focused on exhibiting books from developed countries, and now as Chinese publications have become an important part of the fair, communication between Chinese and foreign publishers have been increasing, Wu said, adding the fair has provided a platform for publishers from overseas to fully communicate with each other.
"The book fair plays an important role to promote global cultural communication," he said.
In 2000, the book fair started its "Guest of Honor" program. In 2005, France became the first country spotlighted. So far, more than 30 countries from five continents have taken part in the fair as Country of Honor, including Russia, Germany, France, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Greece and South Korea.
The "Guest of Honor" program has not only increased understanding and cooperation between publishers from different countries, but also showcased the rich and glorious cultures from around the world and provided Chinese people with a chance to know about the culture, science and technology of the country in focus, Wu said.
This year, Pakistan is the Guest of Honor. Books will be a vehicle to display the relationship between China and Pakistan to increase understanding between each other and improve the friendship of the two countries, Wu said.
Over the last three decades, China has also participated in book fairs around the world, and since 2004, has been to 20 countries, including Russia, Britain, the US, France, Germany, India, Iran, Greece, South Korea, Egypt, Columbia, Algeria and Cuba, as a Country of Honor.
In order to further promote publishing communications, China has signed a series of agreements with countries such as South Korea, Iran and Laos for the program Translation of Classics, in which China and partners translate classics from each other into Chinese or counterpart languages.
"We need to further increase communications with and mutual learning from different countries, nations and cultures, to solidify the humanities foundation of Asian community of a shared future and a community of a shared future for mankind," he said.
Due to the pandemic, last year the book fair was held online for the first time. This year, apart from online platforms, exhibitors and visitors can experience the book fair in-person. Highlights include the Guest of Honor Pakistan booth, the International Children's Reading Creativity Exhibition, the BIBF Picture Book Exhibition, the VR Reading Forest, the BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition, and the LCX SCI-Fi Universe Immerse Exhibition.
Pakistan will present selected books and thematic exhibitions of pictures and paintings at their booth, to celebrate the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the country. At both the fair's online platforms and the physical booth, people will see exhibitions of hundreds of books from Pakistan displaying the country's local customs and practices, literature and art.
At the 1,200-quare-meter LCX Sci-Fi Universe Immersion Exhibition in Beijing's Shijingshan Amusement Park, audiences can immerse themselves in scenes from Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin's science fiction with the help of cutting-edge 5G and VR technology. Besides experiencing vivid scenes from Liu's sci-fi stories The Wandering Earth, Yuanyuan's Bubbles, The Village Teacher and Sea of Dreams, audiences can also learn about the physical and astronomical details in those works.
The BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition will present works from 60 illustrators chosen from 1,406 works the jury received since April from more than 30 countries and regions including China, the US, Canada, Iran, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Uruguay, Greece and Spain.
The book fair, the second largest in the world in terms of scale, will run from Sept 14 to 18.