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UPDATED: April 24, 2009
Premier Wen Jiabao Encourages Chinese to Read More
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao encouraged citizens to read more and be studious and selective in their reading on World Reading Day

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd R) views a treasure collected by the National Library in Beijing, on April 23, 2009. (Xinhua) 

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, an avid reader, encouraged citizens to read more and be studious and selective in their reading on World Reading Day, which fell on April 23.

Wen made the remarks when visiting a branch of the Commercial Press and the National Library in Beijing Thursday.

Books are the crystallization of human wisdom and reading is important in promoting an individual's accomplishments and state of mind, improving citizens' quality and strength, and shaping a country's future, he said when visiting the National Library.

There's no hope for individuals and the nation if citizens do not read, he said.

When talking to the young people in the library, Wen said people should find time to read.

An individual could at least spare half an hour reading about three to four pages, and hence reading more than one hundred pages in a month and several books in a year, he said.

He said the promotion of reading was significant amid an unprecedented global financial crisis. Overcoming this crisis requires not only material power, but also spiritual power.

He said fundamentally, it needs people, the power of knowledge and scientific and technological revolution to conquer this financial crisis.

Reading warm people's hearts and boost their confidence, he said.

He also advised readers to be selective, choosing books from insightful writers and those that were well-written, as well as those that had stood the test of time.

Books can not change the world, but people change the world by changing themselves through reading, he said.

He said he would love to see every passenger holding a book on hand when riding subways.

"I always believe that knowledge gives people not only strength, but also security and happiness," he said.

When visiting a branch store of the Commercial Press, Wen spoke highly of the role of publication.

Without the publishing sector, culture cannot be inherited, scientific exploration would be halted and the historical records would not exist, he said.

He also urged efforts to publish more classical works.

A good book requires the writers to have rich experience, insightful minds and noble languages, and editors with strong sense of social responsibility and a working style of preciseness, he said.

When talking to the English editors of the press, he said the Chinese publishers should not only take the role of promoting the construction of Chinese civilization, but also help spread the world's civilizations.

Wen is fond of reading and has often quoted Chinese poets and proverbs during press conferences.

(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2009)

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