Data from multiple platforms show that both book purchases and people's average reading time increased in China during the pandemic. Since the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee launched a campaign and created an online reading platform on April 23, 2020, the World Book Day, to encourage its members to read, the committee has been striving to nourish a culture of reading. In this video, one member and one former member of the committee shared their views on the merits of reading and the importance of promoting reading nationwide.
Chen Xia, member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee and research fellow of the Institute of Philosophy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)
Chen spoke highly of the reading campaign and the online reading platform launched by the CPPCC National Committee, saying that they help CPPCC members build consensus by removing time and space restrictions.
From her perspective, reading books can benefit individuals and the world in four ways. The first way is to help individuals build their own spiritual world, because through reading people can discover knowledge that has been accumulated by humankind over the past several thousand years. The second way is to improve an individual's presence, and that of a nation. The third way is to provide individuals with an opportunity to communicate with outstanding writers. The fourth way is to promote world peace, as people can gain a deeper and better understanding of other nations and cultures through reading.
Wu Shulin, member of the 12th CPPCC National Committee and former deputy head of the General Administration of Press and Publication
Wu highlighted data showing that downloads of academic journals grew by 12 percent in 2020 from a year ago because of the free public access to databases of such journals, with that of other materials jumping by 45 percent.
From his perspective, CPPCC members can participate in the discussion and handling of State affairs in an effective way only if they have accumulated sufficient knowledge.
As an active advocate of promoting nationwide book reading, Wu joined hands with more than 100 other members during the Two Sessions in 2013 to submit a proposal on making nationwide reading a national strategy. He also called for expediting legislation on nationwide reading, with the purpose of stressing the importance of reading.
Noting that the government is principally responsible for creating favorable conditions for citizens to read, Wu said that the difficulty in realizing nationwide reading in China lies in its rural areas.
He pointed out that with the great support of the Ministry of Finance, China's administrative villages, over 600,000 in total, all now have their own reading houses.
He also acknowledged that despite the progress made in promoting nationwide reading over the past decade or so, China still lags far behind developed countries in terms of the number of libraries in cities.
He called for enhancing Chinese people's international competitiveness through reading.
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