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From: China Daily 2012-03-20 10:50:00
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Tibetan author and NPC deputy calls for spirtuality

Author Alai says Chinese writers should improve their literature's quality to gain international prestige. [Photo/China Daily]

Author Alai says Chinese writers should improve their literature's quality to gain international prestige. [Photo/China Daily]

Alai, one of China's few best-known Tibetan writers, is encouraging some of his peers to readjust their profit-oriented goals and concentrate instead on artistic quality.

He made the remarks at the recently concluded sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The NPC deputy and chairman of the Sichuan Writers' Association says contemporary publishing circles suffer from an erroneous belief that sales are a barometer of a book's popularity. So to please the public, some writers seek popularity through creating vulgar works that "undermine the artistic nature of literature".

"The market-oriented approach does stimulate the creativity of Chinese writers, which has greatly contributed to today's literary boom," Alai says. "But there are serious problems behind this."

The novelist says that while profitability is an indicator of success, a book's spiritual and artistic value is more important.

"The development of the cultural industry cannot simply follow the development routes of other industries and be solely profit-oriented. In my opinion, a good literary work should not only be readable but also put an emphasis on artistic exploration and delve deeper into human nature and the diversity of culture."

He says the lack of spiritual qualities in works by Chinese writers means they are not as influential as they could be internationally.

"Foreign publishing houses are looking for outstanding literary works from China that allow overseas readers to gain a better understanding of the country," he says. "They do not love just entertaining works."

More foreign works are imported than Chinese works exported, he adds.

"If Chinese writers want to improve their international prestige, they must improve their literary quality," Alai says.

He also urges the authorities to attach more importance to the export of Chinese literary works, because "they have a more lasting and far-reaching influence in regard constructing China's soft power and offer a gateway for foreign readers to have a deeper understanding of the diversified aspects of China. When more true-to-life literature is created in China, Chinese literature will surely be more influential."

Alai started his literary career in the 1980s as a poet. His first best-selling book, As the Dust Settles, won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2000.

He taps deeply into the interpretation of Tibetan history and culture. All his novels have been translated into several foreign languages and have been well received overseas.

[editor : ]
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