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North China city opens reading room for the blind
( 2004-01-03 13:55) (Xinhua)

The library of Zhangjiakou City in north China's Hebei Province has opened a special reading room for the blind.

The library has spent more than 4,000 yuan (482 US dollars) buying 120 Braille books and VCDs, mostly of classic literary works.

For easier access of blind readers, the reading room is on the ground floor and is open every working day and public holidays.

"We hope to give blind readers the same opportunities of acquiring knowledge and information they need, so they know what's going on in the world and pick up skills to make a better living," said Feng Zhonghua, curator of the library.

Zhangjiakou has nearly 30,000 blind people, but Braille books, normally much more expensive than normal books, are rarely available on the local market.

The Shenzhen Business Daily based in Shenzhen city, the southern Guangdong Province, published the country's first newspaper supplement in Braille in 2002.

In 2003, China developed a Chinese Braille-based computer system in a bid to cater to the increasing communication demands of the blind and people with eye diseases.

Education authorities have also prepared exam papers in Braille so blind students can sit the national college entrance examination in the last two years.

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