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China-Nepal: Soft power connectivity

By Upendra Gautam
President Bidya Bhandari released Nepali edition of a book on The Governance of China by President Xi Jinping amidst a special ceremony at Presidential House in Shital Niwas, Kathmandu on 18 December 2016.  Liu Qibao, member of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), and Minister of the Publicity Department of the CPCCC attended the ceremony as the guest of honor. The event befittingly heralds Nepal-China relations into the 21st century kinship where soft power plays most paramount role.
Background
The book’s first English version was published in 2014. Compiled by the State Council Information Office of China, the CPCCC Party Literature Research Office and China International Publication Administration, Xi Jinping The Governance of China has been published by China’s Foreign Languages Press in several languages including Chinese, English, French, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Japanese. Nepali edition is the latest.
The book consists of Xi Jinping’s major works from 15 November, 2012 to 13 June, 2014 comprising 79 speeches, talks, interviews, instructions and communications in 18 chapters. Each work is accompanied by relevant notes about China’s social system, history and culture for readers’ reference which help them to rightly appreciate the civilisational roots of the Chinese nation. The book also contains 45 photos taken at different stages of Xi’s life, providing the readers with more information about his work and life.
The background of the book for translating it into Nepali language was set when it was recognised that it was an essential reading for the Nepali people and policy makers.  Consequently, China Study Center (CSC) Nepal got engaged with multiple channels and multiple levels for the translation work since the end of 2015. It meticulously and systematically undertook the translation and publication works in close consultation and collaboration with the Embassy of China in Nepal, the State Council Information Office of China, China Foreign Languages Publication Administration (CFLPA) and the Information Office of People’s Government of Yunnan Province of China. In October last, key CSC Nepal functionaries held a meeting with Foreign Languages Press, a unit of CFLPA in Beijing, on the final preparation and formal release of the book in Kathmandu.
At another level, a group of translators, Chinese and Nepali peer reviewers, scrutinisers for language used in translation and editing of the translated work by a seasoned hand were the important persons who worked hard for assuring quality of the first Nepali edition of the book.
Significance
Shakya Muni Gautam Buddha enriched Nepal-China relations organically linked by the Great Himalayas through his spiritual blessings. President Xi’s book in Nepali language has laid the foundation of the 21st century’s intellectual bridge over the Trans-Himalayan horizon. Our Trans-Himalayan connectivity is in dire need of physical infrastructures in terms of efficient and adequate digital gateways, aviation, communication, roads, railway, ropeway links and energy lines. Intellectual alignment in the form of harmonising development strategies of both the countries is a prerequisite for materialising infrastructures for physical connectivity between them.  Xi’s book helps fulfill this mental gap in a way of governance.
A key feature of the book is its authoritativeness not only in explaining the fundamental vision, policies and programmes of China under President Xi’s leadership but also in its ability in bringing out strategies to achieve the objectives and targets of these policies and programmes.
A major objective of CSC Nepal has been to help Nepali people and policy makers to understand China correctly and learn from it constructively. It firmly believes that a well informed China-Nepal relations is the greatest asset in the bilateral relations.  Given the terror of bad leadership and disinformation in our contemporary space and time, Nepal and China need to jealously guard their bilateral relations and keep continuously nursing it so that it moves forward from strength to strength.
A serious study of Xi Jinping’s The Governance of China by Nepali people and policy makers, in the evaluation of this writer, will help in four inter-related ways:
A serious study of Xi Jinping The Governance of China by Nepali people and policy makers, in the evaluation of this writer, will help them in four inter-related ways:
i. It boosts their morale and inspires them for a successful and glorious time.
ii It supports them to correctly understand and appreciate Chinese dream, characteristics of China’s governance and social system thereby enabling them to realistically and reasonably conduct their behavior vis-à-vis China.
iii. It shows a clear way how China’s friends could be integrated with China’s amazing development, reform and modernization in the context of China’s neighborhood diplomacy and visionary development planning that notably includes the One Belt One Road framework and associated  bilateral and multi-lateral financing mechanisms.
iv. Finally, it analyses factors and relationships that promote national capability and the challenges the state leadership faces and must accept for enhancing national capability with self-esteem and confidence.
Pleasant interface
It might have been a pleasant virtual interface for the President of Nepal with her counterpart in China when she released his book here at a time when she had been eagerly waiting for the state visit of President Xi to Nepal.  Indeed, the special warmth and cordiality and high order of the intellectual flavor which was in the atmosphere of the book launching ceremony would go a long way in building all-round, better and efficient connectivity between the two countries.
(This article published in the Rising Nepal Daily on 15 December 2016 is updated-ed.)
(Gautam, PhD, is secretary general of China Study Center-Nepal.)

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