Premier Wen Jiabao has showed his support to a proposal by 55 writers to establish libraries for middle and elementary schools in underdeveloped areas in the western region of China.
The writers raised the proposal before Children's Day on June 1and urged all writers in the country to donate one book or one yuan (one US dollar is 8.3 yuan) to help set up the libraries.
On June 1, the premier wrote in reply to these writers and said he was deeply touched by the writers' love for children and high sense of social responsibility. The Communist Party of China and the government will firmly realize the goal of compulsory education for all, by focusing on underdeveloped areas, he said.
China has around 220 million middle and elementary school students including almost 100 million of them living in the backward areas. Most of rural schools do not have libraries, while poor students can not afford to buy textbooks and after-school readings.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2004)