China plans to launch a series of activities from April to October to promote book reading habit among its citizens, especially children, young people, women and rural residents.
The activities include book discounts, prize contests for book reports, opening of new libraries in rural areas and urban communities, and book donation to disaster and poverty-stricken areas, according to a circular issued jointly by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Administration of Press and Publication on Sunday.
The circular urged government departments of education, culture and civil affairs, and organizations of trade unions, the Communist Youth League and women's federations at all levels to find creative ways to promote reading habits among the public.
All kinds of media, including radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, Internet and mobile phones, should be involved to set up new trends for book reading, and enhance the social influence of activities designed to promote reading, according to the circular.
"Promoting book reading is a long-term task for us, and we should combine it with the activities to promote spiritual civilization," the circular said.
Statistics showed that the country's book purchase and reading rate was declining in recent years. In 2008, the book purchase rate was 1.75 book per family and the book reading rate was 34.7 percent, 14 percent lower than the figure of 2005, according to a national survey by China Institute of Publication Science.
The survey revealed that about half of the people said they did not read because they did not have time, while 43 percent said they did not have the habit of reading.
The circular said one of the key activities for promoting reading habit was to launch the activity of "reading with your children" among parents across the country on April 23.
Starting from the same day, Xinhua book stores will offer discounts for book purchase and prolong their opening hours, and public-interest ads about the activity will be broadcasted on TV and in other media, and will be sent as text messages to mobile phone users, to help promote the activity.
From April to October, the central government will launch a prize contest for book reports to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China among employees of its departments and organizations. The government will also set up new libraries in rural areas, enterprises and urban communities, and in the military to encourage people to read more books.
In early April, a book list containing more than 100 outstanding books will be promoted among young people and children, with national activities featuring the theme "growing in reading", which will last for a year.
Women will also be encouraged to enjoy book reading and contribute in building a study-oriented society, and help their children to develop reading habit, the circular said.
The organizations of the Communist Youth League will help promote reading among children and young people in poverty-stricken areas in west China, and collect donated books from all circles of life for earthquake and poverty-stricken areas, according to the circular.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2009)