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China Daily Website

Progress of cultural reform

Updated: 2012-11-12 09:40
( China Daily)

Culture can be an elusive subject, but reform of the cultural system is more tangible. It means what books people can read, what kind of performance people can enjoy in theatres and what TV programs viewers can watch.

People may not be able to identify in a clear-cut manner what has been achieved by reform of the cultural system during the past decade. But when we compare the situation a particular opera troupe or a publishing house is in now to how they were 10 years ago, we can see the change has been tremendous.

All cultural institutions and organizations were State-owned before the 1980s. Even in the 1990s, most of them were affiliated to government departments or State-owned units and lacked vitality.

Over the past decade reform has demarcated which parts of the cultural sector belong to the market and which belong to the public sector. This is because society's pluralistic demands for cultural products require that some cultural organizations must be market driven in order to produce what the audience needs.

A news conference at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Sunday, revealed that 6,900 cultural organizations that were once affiliated to the government have been turned into cultural enterprises. Their responsiveness to the market has made the cultural sector increasingly prosperous, which not only shows the reform path has been the right one, it also speaks volumes for the great contribution these enterprises have made to the economy.

However, the government can never shirk its responsibility of meeting the basic cultural needs of its people, especially disadvantaged social groups, in particular those in underdeveloped areas. For example, funding has been provided to establish libraries in rural areas and to broadcast TV to all rural villagers in the past decade.

In addition, the government must take care of cultural exchange programs with the rest of the world to introduce Chinese culture to the world and import foreign culture into the country.

While the State cultural sector has tried its best to meet the basic cultural needs of the people, reform has injected vitality into the nation's cultural industry, which, developing in line with market rules, is becoming a pillar of the economy.

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