David Ferguson: An Expert Decoding China’s Stories

David Ferguson: An Expert Decoding China’s Stories

BEIJING, Dec. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — This is a news report from Science and Technology Daily:

On September 30, 2021, David Ferguson, a senior translation editor from Foreign Languages Press of China International Publishing Group (CIPG), received the Chinese Government Friendship Award, the highest award given by China to honor outstanding foreign experts working in China.

In early September this year, Ferguson won the Special Book Award of China for his contribution to translating and publishing Chinese books and promoting Chinese culture.

Ferguson summed up his feelings as “an honor, a surprise, a pleasure” when presented with the Friendship Award. “I was so proud to be a part of two eminent groups of experts who have made tremendous contributions to promoting communications and exchanges between China and the world,” he told Science and Technology Daily recently.

Confronting rumors with an objective perspective

Ferguson has been covering most of major events, such as the Wenchuan Earthquake, the Beijing Olympic Games, and the Shanghai World Expo, since he worked for CIPG in 2008,

The reason that made him decide to take up the offer of a job as a journalist and editor with, the online news and information provider, was an incident of the violent riots in Lhasa, Xizang Autonomous Region, on March 14, 2008. “I could see in the documentary and video evidence of what was going on in Lhasa. However, the stories that the Western media showed were just completely different and had nothing to do with the truth. So, I accepted the job offer. Because somebody should at least try to present a more honest version of what is happening in China,” he said.

At that time Ferguson did not speak much Chinese, so he took his own approach to confronting the fabrications of the Western media.

“I wasn’t in a position to read what the Chinese were saying. So, I started from the perspective of what the Western media were saying and analyzed that. This way it was much easier for me to demonstrate how false the Western account was. “

In addition, he has a natural-born sense of justice, and always respects his wife’s home country, which makes him notice the sharp contrast between the real China and China portrayed in the Western media.

For example, when encountering fake news about 1.5 million Beijing residents being evicted from their homes to make way for the Olympics, he was angry about the Western media’s attitude. “They did not check the source [of the information], and they simply copied their reports from each other,” Ferguson said.

As an objective witness living in Beijing, he did a lot of research and checked the source of every story, then wrote what he found to be true.

“Unlike some Western media, there was no any limit for the readers to make comments on my articles. I was confident in what I was writing about,” he said.

Being a good information communicator

Ferguson likes to argue with people on Twitter, often about China. But he finds it is not always easy to convince people about what is happening in China because negative messages about the country have been circulating for so many years in Western countries.

He has written and translated a series of articles and books, presenting an optimistic, pragmatic, and open China to the world.

Noting the increasing need for China to deliver the truth to the international community, Ferguson highlighted the role of soft power, such as films. He applauded the approach adopted by the film My People and My Country in telling stories about significant events. The anthology is made up of seven short stories based on seven critical moments since the founding of People’s Republic of China.

He is convinced that telling a story through ordinary people’s eyes resonates much more with an audience. He advised writers, media and other language practitioners in China to take ordinary people as narrators and tell the story of an important event through their experiences. The reason why soft power is so valuable is that narrators have direct access to the audience in the international community, which cannot be filtered and twisted by the Western media.

Another reason soft power is so important said Ferguson, is that the storytelling process is not just mechanical translation.

He emphasized the significance of being an objective-driven information communicator, while also voicing his thoughts in terms of news reporting in the sci-tech field. “When we try to tell sci-tech stories to the international community, the writers or the translators should avoid using formulaic statements, as these make the words and expressions they use sound as if they were algebra,” he said.

As a Chinese -English language editor, Ferguson has worked and lived in China for a long time and has a deep understanding of China’s development philosophy and goals, enabling him to better tell the country’s stories to the international community. His views highlight what efforts should be made in information communication.

By Fang Linlin&Long Yun from Science and Technology Daily

David Ferguson.(COURTESY PHOTO)
David Ferguson.(COURTESY PHOTO)