Langfang gears up to host National Book Expo

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Langfang in North China's Hebei province, which is near Beijing and Tianjin, is set to host the 27th National Book Expo this summer.

A girl looks at a book at the National Book Expo held in Baotou, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, in July. [Photo by Mei Jia/China Daily] 

The exhibition, which was first held in 1980, is one of the oldest book events of its kind in the country. In recent years, the expo has grown, and now features talks by writers, reading promotion activities as well as showcasing regional culture.

For years, the event was mostly hosted by provincial capitals around the country. The successful expo held in Baotou in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in July "inspired us to look for smaller cities", says Yan Xiaohong, vice-minister of Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Langfang, with a population of 4.6 million, is the first city in Hebei to be honored for promoting reading, with a lot of book events held in the past three years, drawing around 150,000 people.

Publishing is an important industry in Hebei, with the majority of its cultural businesses comprising media, publishing, printing and binding.

Now, many of the former small-scale printing and binding businesses have moved into integrated industry parks, and are working on green printing, digital printing and even 3-D printing.

Zhang Gujiang, vice-governor of the province, who is also on the expo's organizing committee, says as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration plan and the 2022 Winter Olympics bring new opportunities to Hebei, the province is making efforts to further develop its economy.

"We value culture and plan to offer better public cultural services. We have 48,000 rural libraries in the province," says Zhang.

The expo will be held at the Langfang International Convention and Exhibition Center from May 31 to June 3.

The organizers of the expo, which will cover an area of 50,000 square meters, expect 2,500 exhibitors to bring in 100,000 titles to the show. They also expect to stage 1,000 events at the expo.

Li Xiaoming, head of the provincial Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, says that besides the expo's signature events, such as the Red Sofa Meetings, Ten Iconic Reading Figures, the Langfang show will also feature a special exhibition marking the 80th anniversary of the Xinhua Bookstore brand.

Among the other attractions, writers born in Hebei, like Tie Ning, will meet the readers during the expo, while a book caravan has started its tour from Shijiazhuang city and will arrive in Langfang in late May, says Li.

Besides Langfang, Tangshan city will host a related exhibition at its Southlake Convention and Exhibition Center, where the 2016 Tangshan International Horticultural Exposition was held in October.

The Tangshan section will feature children's books and intangible cultural heritage, with free entry to the venue of the horticultural expo.

As for other related events, the former revolutionary base of Xibaipo and the Baiyangdian guerilla base, two popular tourist destinations in Hebei known for their "red tourism", will host exhibitions featuring books on the Party history and revolutionary literature.

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