Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dispatches from China

- Shanghai Daily reports that a replica of China's oldest existing private library will be built at the University of Rhode Island's Confucius Institute. A slightly scaled-down copy of Tianyi Pavilion, located in Ningbo City, is now under construction in Providence.

"Tianyi Pavilion Library, built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has amassed a collection of 300,000 volumes, 80,000 of which are rare books. Emperor Qianlong (1771-1799) in the Qing Dynasty ordered another seven royal libraries be constructed in China, exactly like Tianyi Pavilion."

The article notes that the Confucious Institute is "a project launched by the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and aims to enhance the understanding of the Chinese language and culture among learners of Chinese worldwide."

- And another story I read yesterday but forgot to post: Reuters says that Shanghai booksellers are cracking down on "image thieves" - people who snap photos of book pages for reference (mostly students, say the booksellers). Jiang Li, a manager at Shanghai Book City, is quoted as saying "We have put a sign on the wall telling people not to do it. A more important problem than (our) financial interests is that they infringe the copyright of those books."

The Reuters piece goes on to note (and this was confirmed by a friend in Shanghai when I sent him the article to check) that "roughly-bound photocopied versions of popular works are hawked by street-side vendors within days of the originals' release," (just as music albums and DVDs). [h/t Shelf:Life]