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Facilities for cultural services to be bolstered

By WANG KAIHAO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-28 09:21
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A customer selects books on a smart bookshelf which can sense the book taken and automatically play introductions at a bookstore in Wuxing District of Huzhou City, East China's Zhejiang province, April 22, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China will bolster cultural service facilities for the public, according to a news conference with the State Council Information Office in Beijing on Friday.

"The facilities comprise a main channel to ensure people's basic cultural rights," said Minister of Culture and Tourism Hu Heping.

He also vowed to build a modern, nationwide system of public cultural facilities covering urban and rural areas, and to ensure fairness and efficiency in services.

According to the ministry, there were 3,212 public libraries, 618 art galleries, 5,788 museums and 3,327 public centers on the Chinese mainland last year. About 575,400 village-level cultural venues have been built.

Hu added that all public libraries, art galleries and cultural centers, as well as about 90 percent of public museums in China have been accessed for free.

From 2016 to 2020, an average of 2 billion yuan ($300 million) was allocated annually by the central government to support the free-ticket policies.

"We'll continuously promote standardization and equalization of services and improve integration of the service system in rural and urban areas," Hu said.

Culture also played a key role in the poverty alleviation campaign.

According to Ma Qinlin, director of the finance department under the ministry, "mobile cultural services" that function as miniature libraries, art troupes and projection facilities for movies, have been equipped in all poverty-hit counties across the country since 2016.

Over 110,000 village-level cultural venues in these regions were provided equipment such as musical instruments, audio equipment and digital projectors, thanks to the fiscal support.

Livestreaming expanded the influence of grassroots cultural activities. Ma said that in Shaanxi province alone, over 8,000 art shows, whose costs were covered by the government, were broadcast live in 2020.

Developing tourism is also a key channel to bring cultural prosperity over the long term.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism included 1,199 villages nationwide in the list of key destinations of rural tourism. Hu said about half of domestic tourism visits in China went to rural areas.

"Development of tourism is closely connected to improvement of people's livelihood," Hu said. "And rural tourism is also a way for people to express their nostalgia."

He said the ministry will lead a series of nationwide projects focusing on catering and art programs to further encourage the industry in the countryside.

"When the villagers' purses bulge, they'll become new sources of tourists to experience culture elsewhere as well," Hu said.

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