China has announced that more books will be channeled into the country's vast rural areas. Delivery and distribution will be enabled by the construction of a network of Xinhua bookstores extending to rural counties and villages.
The announcement by the State Press and Publication Administration comes at a time when the book distribution system in China's rural areas is shrinking.
Last year, the central government invested 10 million yuan (around US$1.2 million) in setting up over 20 Xinhua bookstores in Tibet Autonomous Region. These efforts have proved effective in making badly needed books on agriculture and animal husbandry more accessible to local farmers.
This year, new bookstores will be set up in the neighboring areas of Qinghai Province and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Regional and local governments, especially in poor areas or places with a high concentration of ethnic minorities, are being required to place more importance on developing a book distribution system. The participation of private businesses will also be encouraged.
(CCTV.com February 20, 2004)