Political Advisor Urges Teaching Farmers Surfing Internet

A member of China's top advisory body on Saturday called for nationwide efforts to help farmers glean information from the Web so as to narrow the "information divide" between cities and the countryside.

Huang Yinhui, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said farmers are eager for information but due to poor economic and cultural conditions, they are not capable of obtaining information from the Internet to benefit their production and life.

"Government departments should, free of charge, create conditions to teach farmers surfing the Internet so as to expand their knowledge," said Huang, who also called for people from all walks of life, especially the telecommunications sector, to offer their support.

Enhancing information infrastructure is a major job for building a new countryside which the country is striving for, said Huang, adding that among China's more than 100 million Internet subscribers, those from the sectors of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery account for only 2.2 percent.

"This 'information divide' between urban and rural areas exerts a negative impact on the coordinated development of cities and the countryside," said the CPPCC member.

In fact, it is not difficult to teach farmers to learn operating computers and surfing the Internet, Huang said, citing the "teaching farmers to surf the Internet" program on a trial basis in Jiangsu Province, where Huang came for the CPPCC annual session.

"The farmers there became familiar with operating computers and searching for agriculture-related information on the Web after five days of training," said Huang.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2006)

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