Cartoons

Book him, Danno

“Look, we are out of copies of Animal Farm, Silence of the Lambs and The Horse Whisperer...”

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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