Tourism power, and Chinese literature from an Indian perspective

5 Oct

China’s “Golden Week,” which will end tomorrow, is a time when millions and millions of Chinese will travel around and outside the nation. As a result, it was a fitting time for a tourism law to have come into effect on Oct. 1 that clamps down on budget package tours that usually require customers to make purchases in selected stores during their trips. The law also touches on personal behavior, which. Chinese tourists have become a mighty force, both in numbers and purchase power, internationally but sometimes their behavior leaves something to be desired. The government has tried to deal with this by issuing a set of guidelines in September that tell tourists not to do things like jump lines, spit, or even take too much food in buffets. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, there’ve been some incidents though not that much in the latter place. On a personal note, I saw many mainland Chinese tourists in Japan while on a trip in July, and none of them were doing negative things.

This Caravan piece starts off with a very good question, before going on to highlight several Chinese books. Why is it Chinese writers only become known to Indian readers through Western publishers and marketing? “Western publishers are the gatekeepers of what we read from China,” says the writer. The answer to me, and which the writer most likely already knows, might be because Western publishers are the only ones with enough money and resources to search for, translate, and release books on China (as well as countries and regions all over the world), which say, Indian publishers can’t for economic and cultural reasons. Still, it’s a worthwhile question and you could extend it to across Asia as well. Are Indian authors well-known or have their books published in China? Are Japanese writers except Murakami well-known in China? Are Korean authors well-known in Japan? Just as the article’s writer says he hopes that one day foreign non-Indian literature can be directly selected and published by Indian publishers without having to be “filtered” through and via the West, I hope for China’s case that Asian non-Chinese literature can be given the same treatment (though publishing censorship and restrictions make it tricky). Among the Chinese authors covered are Mo Yan, not surprisingly, Ma Jian, author of Beijing Coma, and Ha Jin, who writes his novels in English, as well as lesser-known but likely very talented ones.

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