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China to Have 3,000 Museums by 2015
China is expected to have 3,000 museums by the end of 2015, at least one fully-functional museum for every large or medium-sized city, said Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), Thursday in Beijing.

In his work report to the national meeting on the administration of cultural heritage and relics, which opened on Thursday, Shan said that China will make great efforts in the next10 years to set up more museums featuring diverse characteristics.

China will further improve its museum network, Shan said, adding that the current multi-owner system is to be largely replaced by the state-owned museums and supplemented by private ones, covering the nation and its industries.

The country will continue to build national museums as well as provincial ones in municipalities or provinces such as Beijing, Tianjin and Sichuan, Shan said.

China supports the building of special museums for spheres, including finance, postal service and railway transportation, as well as museums with different themes, such as international friendship and ethnic groups.

China, Shan noted, will strive to increase exchanges between museums and encourage exhibitions and exchanges among legal private collections.

A national database of cultural heritage and relics is to be set up for promoting international exchanges of cultural information, and museum staff will receive regular professional training, said the director.

Chinese museums have improved remarkably both in number and quality over a five-year period from 1996 to 2000. And SACH statistics show that the number of Chinese museums rose drastically from 1,194 to 1,384 between 1995 and 2000, reaching 2000-plus if private museums are taken into account.

By the end of 2000, the Chinese government had allocated 27.4 million yuan (about US$3.3 million) for the maintenance of 112 museums and 13.38 million yuan (about US$ 1.6 million) for the collection of 20,000 antiques scattered around the country.

The social functions of Chinese museums have also been enhanced. Museums in China have collected more than 20 million antiques and hold over 8,000 exhibits annually. Visitors from both at home and overseas to Chinese museums amounted to 150 million in the year 2000 alone.

A growing number of regional museums, such as the museum in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, are vivid with their own local and ethnic flavors. Significantly, China has also formed a network of relics and heritage from its revolutionary war years, a solid foundation for patriotism education, Shan said.

(People’s Daily December 20, 2002)

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