Beijing, Oct. 28, 2016, — In the recently held 23rd session of the Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), Director of the Romanian Cultural Center and experienced publisher Constantin Lupeanu received the esteemed prize for “Exceptional Literary Contribution to China” from the vice-Premier of the State Council LIU Yandong, becoming the sixth collaborative partner of the Renmin University Press to receive this prestigious award.
Much took place in the short five days this fair was run: the unveiling of the nameplate for the China-Romania Academic Publishing Cooperation Centre in Beijing; two fora were convened – the “China-Princeton University Publishers Academic Publishing Forum” and the “2016 Forum for Cooperation Between Publishers in China and Central and Eastern Europe”; the Spanish translation of The RMB Reader and the Polish translation of The Trajectory of China’s Economic Development were released; copyright contracts were signed for many books – particularly noteworthy are Luoma’s novels and many books on Chinese sociology; and the role of the Renmin University Press in the spread of international culture around China was clearly on display, with many high standard international activities being held for the enjoyment of the global publishing community. In the past eight years, Renmin University Press has maintained its place as one of the top two publishers in the country, and is a shining example to other publishers of how to successfully execute a strategy of global engagement.
Creating New Eastern Academic Classics
Recent times have seen China increase its engagement with the world; this has served to hasten the reform of Chinese media outlets and the put competitive pressures on publishing businesses. These trends led the Renmin University Press to realise that progress would only come through global engagement. “Global engagement” means taking our outstanding literature and introducing it to the world; “global engagement” is a way by which we can present the wealth of Chinese academic work to the world. The first problem facing Renmin University Press is, which cultural products best represent the China emerging in the world today? The works of modern Chinese academic writers researching the state, trends and experiences of Chinese economic and social development are without doubt of great significant for academics worldwide; as such, the high-level contributions by authoritative and accomplished academics that expound the economic and social accomplishments of modern China have naturally become a focal point for Renmin University Press overseas publications.
The start of export publishing began in the early 90s when Renmin University Press offered for sale in Taiwan the work titled Chinese and English Comparisons of Selected Readings of Classic Chinese Philosophical Works. This traditional Chinese character publication was edited by Professor Shi Jun of the RUC Philosophy Department. In 1992 Renmin University Press established an international cooperation office, greatly expanding the scope and depth of collaborative international publishing. Later, in contribution to the cultural strategic component of the “Belt and Road” initiative, they established an Israel subdivision of Renmin University Press, and a China-Romania Academic Publishing Cooperation Centre. In less than 30 years Renmin University Press made many outstanding breakthroughs in international publication, blazing the trail of global engagement between high-level Chinese academia and the world.
An important aspect of the “global engagement” work of Renmin University Press is the laudable achievements made in the realm of publishing rights. At present, Renmin University Press has established professional working relationships with over 100 publishing institutions from over 30 countries and regions, accumulating publishing rights for over 1700 books in over 19 languages. In 2015 alone, out of 211 works exported, there were 3 books chosen for the “Chinese Classics International Publishing Project,” 7 books received funding for the “Popularising Chinese Books Abroad” plan, 7 books received funding for “Translation of Chinese Academic Works Project,” 22 works received priority funding for translation as part of the “Silk Road Literary Works Project,” and 5 works were chosen for the 14th session of “Outstanding Published Works for Import and Export.”
With deep deliberation on the effective development conducive to the demands of the international market, Renmin University Press acknowledged two key issues at the heart of the conversation surrounding modern interpretations of Chinese traditional culture and the Chinese development path. Over 90% of exported publications are academic works in the field of humanities and social sciences, and the rate with which Renmin University Press is publishing these “Significant Academic Works in the Field of Humanities and Social Sciences” around the world is growing with each passing day.
Director of Renmin University Press LI Yongqiang notes that “negotiations in cooperative publishing are like a game of chess, and in our hands we have a “trump card,” that enables us to walk our own path.” The “trump card” that he is talking about is the wealth of academic resources that Renmin University has at hand. What is worth noting is, hitherto Renmin University Press has exported over 582 works by Renmin University academics, making up 32.8% of the total amount of exports.
A Strategy in Service of the Nation, and for Improving the Profile of the University
Since the implementation of the “Belt and Road” initiative, Renmin University Press has made awareness of cultural “global engagement” the highest priority, by constructing a platform for international cooperative publishing as a means of letting our culture shine throughout all nations along the silk road. Moreover, Renmin University Press’s International Publishing collaboration and intercollegiate collaboration has created a flow-on effect, constructing a platform for interchange, paving the way for channels of communication, spurring on intercollegiate collaboration, and elevating the profile of our university.
Here we take the time to detail some of the most significant events demonstrative of China’s engagement with the region. Since 2012, Renmin University Press has collaborated with Turkish publishers to translate and promote the collection “Studying Chinese Marxism,” and at present there are already 15 types of English and Turkish language books being published. In September, “The Russian Studies Centre of Renmin University of China and St. Petersburg State University” was established under the mutual agreement of members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party’s political bureau, State Council vice-premier LIU Yandong and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets. At this event, LIU Yandong also presented Golodets with Renmin University Press’s new publication Essentials of Russian Law – A Legal Guide for Foreign Investors and The Political Economy of Putin. Following this trend, collaboration between Renmin University Press and the Russian publishing world is increasing every day, and in the same year the Press signed a contract with Russian Oriental Literature Publishing House to publish Core Values of Socialism: Key Words 12 volume series. Later, in December, with the support of the State Press and Publication Administration of Radio and Television’s project “Silk Road Literary Works,” Renmin University Press held an exhibition tour of China’s outstanding literary works at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University and Eurasian National University, where there were on display over 500 books about China in English, Russian and Kazakh. In January of 2016, Renmin University Press and the World Science and Technology Publishing Group held a ceremony to celebrate signing a contract to publish in English “A Collection of Translations of Classic Ancient Works on Traditional Chinese Medicine”; in the same month, Chinese publishing organisations established in Israel the first sub-division of the organisation, unveiling the Israel sub-division of the Renmin University of China Press. In May, the first cooperative platform between China and Romania, the “China-Romania Academic Publishing Cooperation Centre (Bucharest),” establishing an alliance between Renmin University Press and the Romania Cultural Centre. And, of course, in August the “China-Romania Academic Publishing Cooperation Centre (Beijing)” was unveiled at the BIBF…..
Renmin University Press has held book fairs, established publishing agreements and established sub-divisions in the major countries of the “Belt and Road,” hoping to use books as a means of regional engagement, and to promote Chinese culture in countries around the “Belt and Road” region. At the same time, a new window has opened for international cooperation at Renmin University by virtue of the Press’ international publishing business, enabling it to make connections with new international partners, increasing the international prestige of the University. LI Yongqiang explained, “At present, Renmin University Press has already established stable organisations for collaboration with many publishers from nations along the silk road, gaining 200 copyright exports for countries such as Russia, Turkey, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Poland, and Egypt among others. We can see, in times to come there will be many more Chinese works taking to the world’s cultural stage through these new platforms.”
Opening Up Multiple Channels for International Cooperation
Renmin University Press is an organisation that focuses on the future. Director LI Yongqiang said, “Renmin University Press takes a comprehensive view of the cultural production industry, and is working towards establishing many important projects.” Founded on the principle of continuous innovation of traditional business ideas, Renmin University Press aims to create high quality Chinese style contributions to global culture, and in this has taken a firm step towards multilateral international cooperation.
Learning from the World, Augmenting Our Capabilities
From 2014, Renmin University Press together with other members of the domestic publishing industry travelled outside of China, to publishers such as the internationally esteemed Oxford Brooks College and the renowned centre of innovation New York State University, so as to build bridges between our publishers. This fruitful trip enabled the Press to meet with and connect with industry experts in order to learn and share our work with and future thinking on such key tasks as content planning, book binding and layout, digital publishing, and copyright management. Guided by the insights obtained from access to the educational resources, and facilitated by personally attending these great publishers, Renmin University Press’s training work has developed dramatically. Moreover, for three years in a row, Renmin University Press undertook training in copyright management at the State Press and Publication Administration of Radio and Television. This has further served to improve the quality of and technology available to our staff working with international publishers, improving the efficacy of our staff to engage globally.
Riding the “Orient Express” of International Digitized Publishing, so that Innovative Thinking Can Drive Transformation and Development
In the era of informatisation, Renmin University Press increasingly recognises the importance of licencing in the digital copyrighting of academic works, and is actively working towards development in the field of publishing digital teaching materials. In 2012, Renmin University Press obtained licencing to use the Gale Virtual Reference Library, gaining access to digital content from Harvard University Library, the US Library of Congress, Yale University Library, the French National Library and other resources from over 12,000 institutions around the globe, increasing the speed and efficacy with which the subject of China and Chinese content are transmitted to the world. At the same time, Renmin University Press was still working in cooperation with CNKI’s International Collaboration Department, making digital copies of the “Chinese Humanities Compendium” and “Collected Works on Chinese Economic Issues” available for an overseas audience. Presenting these digital editions has been a dual success, bringing both social and economic benefits.
Spreading the voice of China and teaching the world about Chinese culture serves two important purposes. The first is that it presents to the world the authentic voice of China, strengthening Chinese international discourse. The second is that it helps facilitate the positive role that we as a nation need to play in global governance. Publishing as “global engagement” is beneficial for increasing global understanding of Chinese culture, and is beneficial for transmitting ideas and cultural exchange. In this new era, in this new phase, Renmin University Press continues to innovate, lead the way, and meet whatever challenge lies ahead.