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Looking back at Tsai Chih-Chung & "Sanlian"

07-25-2012 09:22 BJT

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SDX Joint Publishing Company, commonly known in China as "Sanlian", is widely recognized as one of the best publishing houses in the country.

"Sanlian" was established on July 26th exactly eighty years ago. The company mainly publishes books on politics, non-fiction, culture and academic journals, and its reputation has benefited from the bond between the publishing house itself with many artists and scholars.

Tsai Chih-Chung, the 64-year-old cartoonist from Taiwan is now based in Hangzhou. He still remembers how Sanlian approached him more than two decades ago, and persuaded him to let Sanlian debut his cartoon works in the Chinese mainland.

Tsai Chih-Chung said, "It was 1988 and I was in Hong Kong to meet a UK publishing company. We had dinner together with the manager of Sanlian’s Hong Kong headquarters. She said the Beijing company is very professional, they do the job as good as overseas publishers. So I agreed to discuss the contract details, because a professional publishing company in the Chinese mainland was rare at that time."

One year after the meeting, Sanlian issued the first series of Tsai’s cartoon adaptation on works of Chinese ancient philosophers. Sanlian has done great promotion for him as well, and Tsai is still impressed by how kind they treated him.

Tsai Chih-Chung said, "They drove me in an old Jeep to dinner. I met cartoonist Ding Cong at the restaurant, and the Beijing company’s manager Shen Changwen, who rode an old bicycle there. I guessed they only had one car, but they sent it to pick me up.

I remember the book-signing event at Wangfujing Bookstore in 1991. It was snowing hard. We started at 9 in the morning, but the queue formed before 5 o’clock."

To date, Sanlian is still the top seller among Tsai’s global publishers. The original 1989 print of his cartoons is one of the hottest collection items in the used book market, thanks to the high quality of its designs and printing. Sanlian never used fancy colours or unflattering headshots on the cover, but their simple, elegant style is still profoundly favored by book lovers, just like Tsai Chih Chung’s delicate cartoon works.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CNTV.CN

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