Since the initiation of the reform and opening to the outside world in 1978, publishing has flourished in China. There is a great diversity of books and periodicals, covering a wide range of disciplines and categories. They are playing an increasingly important role in disseminating the Party and state’s guiding principles and policies, reflecting the achievements of the reform and opening, displaying the new aspects of economic construction, spreading scientific and cultural knowledge, and enriching people’s cultural lives.

Publication of Books, Magazines and Newspapers






Total print run (100 million copies, or sheets)


Total print run (100 million copies)


Total print run (100 million copies)




































Periodicals: Adhering to the guiding principle that “Science and technology is the No. 1 productive forces” and the strategy of “rejuvenating the nation by relying on science and education,” priority is given to scientific and technological periodicals, and their quality is continuously being improved. Scientific and technological periodicals account for increasing percentages of the nation’s total varieties and number of periodicals. About 260,000 scientific and technological articles are published in Chinese scientific and technological periodicals every year, their rankings of retrieval and quotation rates in the world are continuously rising, and their international influence is daily on the increase. There are a group of academic periodicals covering the social sciences, natural sciences and technology. Scientific and technological periodicals include Systematic Science and Mathematics, Aeronautics Journal, Environmental Protection, and Computer Technology. Social science periodicals include Qiushi (Seeking Truth), Social Sciences in China, Jurisprudence, Women of China, China Youth, Historical Research and Democracy and the Legal System. Life, literature and art periodicals include People’s Literature, Family, Popular Cinema, and New Physical Culture. The universal application of modern science and technology, especially electronic and computer technologies, in editing and publishing work has laid a solid foundation for the quality improvement of the periodicals. Most periodicals have their own characteristics and styles, and not a few have reached or approached the world levels in design and printing.

Books: As China’s society and economy develop in an all-round way, enormous achievements have been attained in book publishing. Particularly since the beginning of the 1990s, a socialist market economy system has been gradually established, giving an impetus to publishing work. The development of economy, science, technology and culture has resulted in an enormous publications market. The gradual establishment of a macro-management system in publishing has led to a more healthy and orderly way of development.

Some 1,169 titles listed in the plan for publishing books in the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1991-1995) have been completed. The Major State Plan for Book Publishing During the Ninth Five-Year Plan Period (1996-2000) has been issued and implemented by the Press and Publications Administration of China. There are 1,200 book titles listed in the plan, of which 353 belong to the social sciences category, 299 belong to the science and technology category, and 181 belong to the literature and art category. For the first time, popular literature, popular science books and books for children and juveniles are listed in the plan. Within the state’s plan, publishing houses nationwide have drawn up their own publication plans.

The 1999 edition of the Word-Ocean Dictionary (Ci Hai), China’s full-length authoritative reference work, was presented to readers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. The newly revised edition includes a color-picture edition, popular edition and compact edition. Compared with previous editions, the new edition of the Word-Ocean Dictionary has completely new forms and contents, with more accurate annotations of the entries, abundant color plates, original format designs, and exquisite printing techniques. Its compilation and revision was a great event for China’s intelligentsia and publishing industry.

Audio-video and electronic publishing: In China, there are 205 audio-video publishers, 93 presses that publish audio-video products to accompany books, and over 260 sound and picture recording, tape duplication and processing units. The Chinese audio-video publishing industry has manufacturing and duplication equipment and technologies of the world’s advanced level, and can produce multi-carrier and multi-size audio-video products including traditional gramophone records, audio-video tapes, video compact disks and digital video disks. In March 1997, the Press and Publications Administration of China, for the first time, formulated and issued the State Plan for Publishing Key Audio-Video Products During the Ninth Five-Year Plan Period. According to the plan, audio-video products fell into 476 kinds in four categories, of which 63 belong to the social sciences category, accounting for 13 percent of the total, 141 belong to the education category, accounting for 30 percent, and 116 belong to the science and technology category, accounting for 24 percent. In recent years, scientific, technological and educational audio-video products have attained a very important status in the audio-video publishing industry in China. In 1995, some 51 such works won prizes at the Fourth Excellent Scientific and Technological Audio-Video Works Award. These works reflect the general level of the scientific and technological videotapes produced and published in recent years. Moreover, the ideological content and artistic quality of literary and artistic audio-video products have been improved too. Zhonghua Dajia Chang Quku (Sing It Together: Karaoke Songs), which was published under the auspices of the Press and Publications Administration of China and other departments, contains 1,000 excellent Chinese and foreign songs and comes in four forms: tape, videotape, video compact disk and songbook. This work has put an end to the situation in which the Chinese karaoke market was dominated by overseas audio-video products.

With the expansion of the information processing industry in China, an electronic publications market is rapidly forming. In the early 1990s, electronic publishing was already burgeoning in China. At present, there are 36 electronic publishing units operating with the permission of the Press and Publications Administration of China, putting out more than 200 electronic publications. Of them, the most popular CD-Roms are The Whole World As One Community, Chinese Encyclopedia, Chinese Folk Arts, Chinese Arts Through the Ages, The Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, The Imperial Palace, Chinese Pharmaceutical Encyclopedia, Chinese Laws and Regulations Encyclopedia, and Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion.


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Last updated: 2000-07-13.