The Yunnan provincial government has announced it will invest Rmb18 million ($2.6 million) to promote “cultural services” in rural areas.
Fair enough: book clubs are increasingly common in a number of countries. But Yunnan has a specific audience in mind. It wants its farmers to read one book a year, watch one drama per quarter and participate in a cultural activity twice a month by 2010.
The scheme’s proposers say cultural development is as important as economic improvement, But critics counter that the subsidies won’t even cover the cost of a decent book, let alone a trip to the theatre. They wonder if many farmers will be interested in expanding their minds, preferring a night in with their pigs to one at the Peking Opera, perhaps.
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