Artists wow Arab world

Updated: 2015-03-03 06:56

By Deng Zhangyu(China Daily)

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Xue and another well-known historian, Yan Chongnian, were invited to Oman to communicate with Omanis via local media. It was the first time Chinese scholars, and not just artists, were invited to take part in Muscat Festival.

With the theme "Happy Chinese New Year," the China pavilion had four parts: food, crafts, kung fu and Chinese wishes. From its opening on Jan 27, it held 11 different kinds of crafts classes to teach visitors Chinese traditional crafts such as kite making, tie-dying, paper cutting and Chinese ink painting. The outdoor kung fu show also drew large crowds.

On Feb 10, a 70-meter-long dragon kite soared through the skies, attracting visitors.

"These kinds of cultural activities are a good way for Arab people to learn more about China. In fact, even though Arabs have little idea about China, they usually have a good impression of China," says Xue, a scholar who has studied the Arab world for decades.

According to two Pew polls in 2005 and 2010, China is the Arab world's favored world power, being preferred to countries such as the United States, Russia, France and Turkey, says Xue.

Xue explains that throughout history, China has never invaded Arab countries: like most Arab states, China has a long history and is rich in culture. A well known quote from the Prophet Muhammad, an important figure in the Muslim religion, tells people to seek knowledge as far as China. Many people in the Arab world associate China with wisdom.

Because of the growing exchanges between China and Arab countries in fields of economy, culture and education, the number of Chinese learning Arabic is growing. Ten years ago, there were about seven colleges offering Arabic class. Now more than 40 collages across China offer classes in Arabic.

The support from the national level for literature translation of both Chinese and Arab is increasing annually, says Xue. He is also the translator for well-known Arab poet Adonis.

"I think Chinese culture and Arab culture share something essential in common. Both the ancient cultures believe in harmony," Xue says.

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