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Museums open free in Anhui province and Chongqing
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Tourists throng Hongyan Square, a famous tourism spot under the management of Chongqing Hongyan Alliance Culture Developing Management Center, which began receiving tourists for free on Wednesday, March 26, 2008. Hongyan Alliance, which has had success exploring revolutionary culture, received more than 15,000 visitors in its 14 tourist sports on Wednesday alone. [Photo: Chongqing Morning Post]

China is achieving its goal of opening state-run museums around the country to free admission. Almost 50 museums in Anhui Province and Chongqing Municipality opened to visitors free of charge, Wednesday. Most have already put in place measures aimed at preventing chaos amid the expected visitor boom.

Led by the Anhui Provincial Museum, 41 state-run museums and memorial halls in Anhui are among the first to offer free admission.

Most facilities impose limits on the number of visitors every day. Numbers are controlled by distributing tickets. Local government officials say it will take time for the museums to prepare for the challenges to come.

Li Xiusong, deputy director of Culture Department of Anhui Province, said, "Free admission to museums is a long-term policy. It urges every museum to be better prepared for a large volume of visitors by improving its facilities and service."

In Chongqing, the eight museums joining the plan include public museums, memorial halls as well as patriotic educational bases.

At the Three Gorges Museum, the daily capacity is set at 3-thousand from Monday to Friday. On week-ends, 5-thousand people are admitted each day. To get one of the limited number of tickets,visitors are required to show their identity cards.

By 2009 another 20 museums in Chongqing will be opened free of charge.

China has more than 2300 museums. Last year they were visited by 150-million people. By April 1st, the free admission policy will be extended to 600 museums.

(CCTV March 28,2008)

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