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120,000 Needy Rural Families Receive Government-donated TV Sets
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Gu Guoli and his family were overwhelmed with joy when they saw a "black box" sitting in the middle of their living room. They had never expected to be able to watch TV programs, especially in color, in their own home.


Shortly after the New Year's Day, the needy rural family received the special present - a 21-inch color TV - from the Yinpo village committee in Huangzhong County, northwest Qinghai Province.


"My family watches the news after supper every day to learn about the Party's policies benefiting farmers," Gu wrote in a letter to the office overseeing the project of "sending TV sets to tens of thousands of households".


In Yinpo village, 20 households received the "gift". They are only a small fraction of the 120,000 poor rural families in the country concerned by the government project.


Since September 2004, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Central Office for Guiding Ethical and Cultural Progress and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television have invested 70 million yuan (about US$8.9 million) in the project to send TV sets to tens of thousands of households in seven provinces or minority autonomous regions: Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Shanxi, Guangxi and Yunnan.


In the latest move, 60,000 TV sets will be sent to poor families in six of the seven provincial regions before the Spring Festival on January 29.


in 1998, China initiated a campaign to enable every village to receive radio and TV broadcasting programs. By the end of last year, central and local governments had invested 3.44 billion yuan (US$43 million) to send radio and TV signals to 97 million farmers across the country.


Tao Tao, an official with the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said that many farmers in poverty-stricken regions still cannot afford a TV despite the government's bold move.


"Except for lighting, the only electrical appliance in some farmers' houses is the TV set that we sent," he said.


Sending TV sets to tens of thousands of farming households will fortify relations between the central government and ethnic minorities in border areas, enrich farmers' and herdsmen's cultural life and spread scientific and cultural knowledge, said officials with the Central Office for Guiding Ethnic and Cultural Progress.


According to Tao Tao, more TV sets will be sent to poor farmers in the future. Those who live in well-established revolutionary regions along the Red Army Long March route will be among the first to get the present to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Long March this year.


(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2006)


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