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History is people

Updated: 2016-10-19 08:03
By Mei Jia (China Daily)

History is people

Ye Lang, professor at Peking University. Photos provided to China Daily

An updated book-and several translations-take readers beyond an academic understanding of Chinese culture by highlighting personal stories, the authors tell Mei Jia.

Authors Ye Lang and Zhu Liangzhi had a daunting task: Boil down Chinese civilization that has spanned thousands of years into a book of about 300 pages.

Both influential professors of philosophy and of aesthetics and arts from Peking University, the two sifted through many options when they proposed a book on Chinese culture as a gift for the world when Beijing was hosting the 2008 Olympic Games.

Insights Into Chinese Culture was so well received that after 20 reprints of the first edition, the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press released the book's updated second edition late last month, as well as versions in eight foreign languages, including English, French, German, Russian and Arabic.

The professors wanted to offer something refreshing and authoritative, and yet easy to follow with the appeal of a story book.

While many titles on Chinese culture seem academic, such as condensed histories, their book approached the material by focusing on Chinese people: their personalities, core values and attitudes toward life.

The authors believe that Chinese people "respect nature, expect a prosperous life, pray for peace, and love life", which form deep layers within Chinese culture.

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