According to a press conference with the State Council Information Office in Beijing on Friday, China will strengthen cultural service facilities for the public.
“The facilities are a main channel to ensure people’s basic cultural rights,” said Minister of Culture and Tourism Hu Heping.
He also promised to build a modern, nationwide system of public cultural institutions for urban and rural areas, and to ensure fairness and efficiency in services.
According to the ministry, there were 3,212 public libraries, 618 art galleries, 5,788 museums and 3,327 public centers in mainland China last year. Around 575,400 cultural sites at village level were built.
Hu added that all public libraries, art galleries, and cultural centers, as well as about 90 percent of public museums in China, are free.
From 2016 to 2020, the central government allocated an average of 2 billion yuan ($ 300 million) annually to support the free ticket policy.
“We will continuously promote the standardization and approximation of services and improve the integration of the service system in rural and urban areas,” said Hu.
Culture also played a key role in the poverty reduction campaign.
According to Ma Qinlin, director of the ministry’s finance department, “mobile cultural services” that function as miniature libraries, art troops and film screening facilities have been set up in all poverty-stricken counties across the country since 2016.
Over 110,000 village-level cultural institutions in these regions have been equipped with equipment such as musical instruments, audio equipment and digital projectors thanks to tax support.
Live streaming expanded the influence of grassroots cultural activities. Ma said that in Shaanxi Province alone, over 8,000 art exhibitions were streamed live in 2020, the costs of which were paid for by the government.
The development of tourism is also an important channel for creating cultural wealth in the long term.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has added 1,199 villages across the country to the list of major rural tourism destinations. Hu said about half of China’s domestic tourism visits were to rural areas.
“The development of tourism is closely related to improving people’s livelihoods,” said Hu. “And rural tourism is also an opportunity for people to express their nostalgia.”
He said the ministry will lead a number of nationwide projects that focus on catering and arts programs to further boost the industry in the country.
“When villagers’ purses fill up, they will become new sources for tourists to experience culture elsewhere,” Hu said.