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Joint efforts needed to pay off universities' heavy debts
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China's education minister Zhou Ji said on Friday that various funding channels are needed to alleviate the heavy debts of Chinese universities.

"Joint efforts from society are needed to pay for the debts of 200 billion yuan (28 billion U.S. dollars) of Chinese universities," said Zhou at a press conference on the sidelines of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), adding that "it is not helpful to always blame on it."

He said that most of the debts from banks were used to build a high-quality higher education system and prepare for its further development.

"I admit there is corruption and waste of money in it, but this is never the mainstream," he said.

He promised that the government would try its best to increase the educational input aside from the previous 50 billion-yuan allocation to cope with the current situation.

"Universities should also save money and find various funding channels to pay off the debts gradually," he said.

But Xu Hui, a non-Communist political advisor, said earlier that the country's universities are confronted with a total debts of 300 to 400 billion yuan (42 to 56 billion U.S.dollars) and the situation will last for more than ten years.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2008)

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