Egypt: China-Egypt Cultural Exchanges Thrive, Enhancing Bilateral Ties
Beijing — Muhsin Farjani was among the 10 people met by visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Cairo last week to honour their outstanding contributions to China-Arab friendship .
As a Chinese language professor with Ain Shams University in Cairo, 56-year-old Farjani has dedicated the last two decades of his life to the translation of ancient Chinese literature into Arabic.
Works translated by Farjani include the "Analects of Confucius," "Tao Te Ching," the universal Taoist textbook written by Lao Tze, and "Shi Jing," or the Book of Songs, which is China's oldest collection of poetry and songs.
The fact that both countries boast rich and long civilizations has made the two peoples best appreciators of each other. Farjani'sEgyptian versions of the old Chinese masterpieces have found a lot of readers among the people nourished by the Nile River.
President Xi said he was impressed by the way the ancient Egyptians harnessed the Nile floods for agricultural production when he first visited Egypt 16 years ago.
"I marveled at the Nile, mother of the Egyptian civilization, and was amazed by the wisdom and strength of the Egyptian people," said Xi in a signed article in the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram ahead of his state visit to the country.
Xi said friendly exchanges between the peoples dated back to antiquity. More than 2,000 years ago, the imperial court of China's Han Dynasty sent envoys to Alexandria. Moreover, the ancient Silk Road was a bond linking the two sides.
Over six decades ago, Premier Zhou Enlai and President Gamal Abdel Nasser shook hands at Bandung, Indonesia. China and Egypt have since witnessed ever closer cultural exchanges in the modern era.
A Chinese-Egyptian Culture Year was launched by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the Chinese Embassy in Cairo last week to mark the 60th anniversary of joint diplomatic relations.
"The Chinese-Egyptian cultural year is a means to intensify the already strong cultural ties," said Egyptian Minister of Culture Helmy al-Namnam.
More than 100 cultural events will be held throughout the cultural year, with China alone holding more than 60 activities covering music, folkloric dance, cinema, literature, food, seminars and exhibitions.
Minister Counselor of the Chinese Embassy Qi Qianjin said that the Chinese-Egyptian cultural exchange has always been rich and expanding.
"Since the start of the mutual diplomatic relations, China and Egypt have signed tens of cultural agreements that are meant to enable fruitful cultural exchange," he said.
Qi added that Egypt has been the link between China and the Arab countries.
The just-concluded visit by President Xi to Egypt will lead to more intense cultural cooperation between the two sides.
Chinese archaeologists will participate in an excavation project in Egypt soon.
"This will be the very first time that two of the four ancient civilizations join hands in archaeology -- it could be a milestone in the history of bilateral cultural exchanges," said Wang Wei, director of the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), after a week-long visit to Egypt this month.
As two ancient civilizations, "We also face the similar dilemma of social development and maintaining traditional cultures," Wang said. "All these factors push us together and extend civilization."