Public cultural service policies and measures
Public service is a necessary supplement to the market economy. In recent years, state finances have continuously increased investment in cultural development. From 2005 to 2011, the central government allocated a total of 21.5 billion Yuan to the Ministry of Culture and organized a group of significant cultural programs, including on the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage and a “National Cultural Information and Resource-sharing Database” project. In addition, accumulative transfer payments from the central finances from 2005 to 2011 totaled 13.9 billion Yuan; a series of principal cultural projects were executed including construction and equipment configuration of cultural stations in villages and townships, free admission of libraries and cultural centers, a service capacity-building project for community cultural centers and cultural activity rooms, mobile stage vehicles, and the sending of books to rural areas. These have exposed the public to abundant public cultural goods and services. China’s public cultural services have been gradually improving with additional investment. For example, in 2006 the number of books held by public libraries was 0.38 copies per capita of population, rising to 0.52 at the end of 2011. At the same time, the central government has been continuously strengthening cultural infrastructure. Since 2005, China has seen the construction of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Mei Lanfang Theatre, the second phase of the National Library, reconstruction and expansion of the National Museum, and the theater auditorium of the National Theatre of China, covering a total area of 470,000 square meters and involving estimated investment of 7.4 billion Yuan. These venues have become important windows for national cultural development achievements.
In recent years, China has devoted its efforts to free admission for public museums and libraries. By the end of 2010, more than 1,700 state-owned museums had made public admission free of charge. By 2015, this will grow to a total of 2,500 museums and memorial halls which will receive 500 million visitors annually. The central government will earmark 2 billion Yuan to achieve this goal. By 2015, some private museums will also be free to the public and enjoy support from relevant national policies. Subsidies from the central government for the free opening of public libraries at the city and county levels totaled 319.34 million Yuan in 2011.
Public cultural services in rural areas are an effective measure for poverty relief and improved development. Public cultural service undertakings pursued with intensity over the last years have been grouped into five key cultural projects, ones focusing preferentially on rural and remote Western regions. The five projects are as follows: the “Radio and TV Coverage for Every Village Project” launched and implemented by the former State Planning Commission and the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, to eliminate radio and TV coverage black spots for residents of remote rural areas; the Construction Program of Comprehensive Cultural Stations in Villages and Townships During the 11th Five-year Plan jointly formulated and implemented by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Culture; the “National Cultural Information and Resource-Sharing Database” project involving centralized digital resources, the rollout of a grassroots service network and multiple means of dissemination, implemented by
institutions specially established by the Ministry of Culture to promote sharing of cultural information and resources; the “Countryside Movie Screenings Project” implemented by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, aiming to have one movie screened per month in each village by 2010, whose goal has now essentially been achieved; and the “Rural Libraries Project” organized and implemented by the General Administration of Press and Publication with the objective of close to half of China’s administrative villages having a “Rural Library” by 2010 and all administrative villages having one by 2015.