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Zhou Guoping: Reading and Spiritual Life

Peking University, Apr. 29, 2013: Peking University alumnus Mr. Zhou Guoping was invited by Peking University Library (PKU Library) to give a speech titled on “Reading and Spiritual Life” on April 23.


Zhou Guoping, born on July 25, 1945 in Shanghai, is a Chinese philosopher, essay writer, and scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Philosophy. He has published over 150 works, including academic monographs, collections of essays, poems, and translations.


In his speech “Reading and Spiritual Life,” Mr. Zhou Guoping firstly summarized three reading principles: ignore what you do for a living; read what you like; be content with superficial understanding. Then he pointed out why one needs to read, what should be read, and how to read. Mr. Zhou made it clear that reading classics is a process of self-building, through which one can free his mind, enrich his mental world, and cultivate a kind and noble character. Besides, reading is enlightening, for readers who read habitually come to be more sensitive and insightful. His speech, as his philosophical essays, with the theory being profound, the language plain and humorous, was warmly received among students.


To celebrate the World Book and Copyright Day on Apr. 23, PKU Library has organized a series of activities in April, including theme lectures, Book Exchange Fair, Wei Ming Top 10 readers Awarding Ceremony, reading bibliography exhibition “Books — Wings of Dream,” classical movies show, etc.


Mr. Zhou Guoping’s speech was given at the awarding ceremony for 2012 PKU top 10 readers. The top 10 readers, judging from how many books they borrowed throughout the year 2012, were awarded.





World Book and Copyright Day — April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature, since April 23 1616 was the date of death of Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. April 23 is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.


In 1995, UNESCO choose this date to pay a worldwide tribute to books and their authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and to gain a renewed respect for the extraordinary contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.



Written by: Hu Beibei

Edited by: Zhao Ning, Zhang Jiang

Source: PKU News (Chinese) & UNESCO