On Sunday, Vice Premier Huang Ju spoke on the phone to an special village-held Ministry of Information Industry meeting to congratulate them on the fact that 96 percent of villages in China are now connected to land-based telephone networks.
The ministry said 49,000 villages now have access to telephone networks as it met in the prefecture of Yan'an in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
Huang spoke highly of the achievement and said departments concerned should further improve rural communication facilities.
He said China has entered a crucial period in building a well-off society. The fifth plenary meeting of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China had put dealing with issues relating to agriculture, rural areas and farmers at the top of the agenda.
Speeding up construction of rural communication facilities is an important measure in solving such issues, an important responsibility for governments and an obligation for communication departments, he said.
"Over recent years, rural communication development has made great progress, as more than 40,000 administrative villages have telephones. Use of telephones will help farmers broaden their horizons and have easy access to information," Huang said.
Huang also spoke to Song Youfu, a farmer of Ansai County in Yan'an, asking about local economic development and the living status of local farmers, as well as the development of local telecommunications and transport.
He said the government would continue to introduce favorable policies to boost rural communications so that an increasing number of farmers can afford to use the telephone and to narrow the gap between city and countryside.
(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2005)