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Chinese People Turn to a New Page
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A survey has shown that the number of Chinese reading at least one book a year has declined dramatically as the Internet takes people away from the tradition of reading books. 

The survey, conducted every two years by the China Publishing Research Center under the General Administration of Press and Publication, was released over the weekend to mark Sunday's 11th World Book and Copyright Day.

Of the 8,000 respondents, who participated in last year's study, less than 50 percent said they read at least one book a year.

According to Monday's China Daily the survey, which started in 1999, found that year by year the public were becoming less inclined to read books. 

A lack of time was cited by most respondents as the reason for them not to read. However, the time spent by Chinese people on the Internet has increased sharply from 3.7 percent in 1999 to 27.8 percent last year, the survey revealed.

Hao Zhenxing, director of the publishing research center said conventional reading could never be replaced by scanning websites. 

However, statistics from the center show that there's actually a wider selection of books on the market with the number published in 1978 being 14,987 while in 2004 it had climbed to 208,294.

(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2006)

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