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Museums Open Doors to Students

Seven museums in Beijing announced their plans to admit students free of charge yesterday to let kids make better use of public cultural facilities.


The seven museums, including the National Library, the National Palace Museum (Forbidden City), the National Museum, the National Art Museum, Prince Gong's Residence, Museum of Lu Xun in Beijing and Mei Lanfang Memorial Museum, said that primary and high school students can visit the museums without paying beginning in May.


Each museum will set certain days aside as free student days, but reservations are required and students must visit in groups.


These new plans were promoted in a circular issued by the Ministry of Culture and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in March, in which public cultural facilities around the country were required to give free admission to certain groups of people, including students and the disabled.


Before the change, most of China's museums gave favorable discounts on tickets to students.


"The Palace Museum used to charge each student 20 yuan (US$2.4), or one third of the current price for adults. Now our new measure allows primary and high school students to visit in groups on every Tuesday for free," said Yan Hongbin, director of the Promotions and Exhibition Department at the Palace Museum.


Yan said the new policy actually began in March, and has been very popular with students.


"We have already received several thousand students, and reservations have been arranged through the end of this year," he said.


The seven museums in Beijing are among the first museums to allow free admission for students in the country.


"We really appreciate the efforts of the seven museums," said Zhang Xu, a senior official with the Ministry of Culture, noting time is needed for the plans to be carried out.


Also for the good of students, the Ministry of Culture and nine other governmental departments have kicked off a week-long action on Monday against illegal Internet bars.


Illegal Internet bars have been found to let in students under the age of 18, who can surf on websites with pornographic material.


"The action of closing down illegal Internet bars concerns the healthy development of our children," Sun Jiazheng, minister of culture said at a ceremony.


Since February, the 10 ministries have already closed down at least 8,600 illegal Internet bars nationwide.


(China Daily April 28, 2004)

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