Argentine, Chinese writers discuss cultural identity in era of globalization

International Exchanges
A distinguished delegation of Chinese writers traveled Wednesday to Buenos Aires for a joint discussion with their Argentine counterparts.

XinhuaUpdated: December 7, 2017

A distinguished delegation of Chinese writers traveled Wednesday to Buenos Aires for a joint discussion with their Argentine counterparts on the importance of conserving cultural identity, and promoting mutual learning, in an era of globalization.

The delegates, who gathered at the National Library -- home to the Jorge Luis Borges Study and Documentation Center -- found many points of agreement, particularly on the need for greater cultural exchange.

Gabriel Rojze, a writer, teacher and adviser to the Federal System of Public Media, said "these types of encounters are very important, because they bring different personalities from the cultural sector together and open the doors to exchange."

That exchange can clear away certain doubts and misconceptions, and lead to greater common ground, he noted.

"We don't really have an idea of what China is, just as I think the Chinese have only a borderline idea of what Argentina is," said Rojze.

"There will always be experts who delve deeper, but at the level of popular knowledge, of the people, the things... we imagine the other culture to be, are probably not right," added Rojze.

"There is a world to discover, even more so in a culture as millenary and extensive as China's," he said.

The Chinese delegation toured the library and saw the desk Borges, Argentina's most famed author, used to write at.

Among the Chinese writers was Chen Yan, who has written plays and soap operas, and won the Cao Yu Theater Literature Prize on three occasions. He currently serves as vice president of the Federation of Artistic and Literary Circles of Shaanxi province.

Also participating was Wang Qiang -- a member of China's Association of Writers since 2002, and a member of China's Association of Television Artists -- whose book on how technology is revolutionizing the arts was nominated for a National Book Prize.

Participating as well were Yao An, deputy general director of the National Center for Traditional Cultures and author of a book on protecting Beijing's intangible cultural heritage; and actress Zhang Kaili, who starred in this year's popular TV series "In the name of the people," which highlights the war on corruption.

In recent years, a number of Chinese writers have traveled to Argentina to bolster bilateral cultural ties, as have artists in other fields, musicians and performers, such as celebrated pianist Lang Lang.

In addition, the South American country annually celebrates China Week, and holds Chinese Bridge contests to recognize accomplishments in Chinese language learning.

Among the Argentine writers who took part in the encounter were poet Alejandro Vaccaro, president of the Argentine Society of Writers (SADE) for 2015-2019; and writers Vicente Battista and Juan Villafane.