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UPDATED: October 24, 2011 NO. 43 OCTOBER 27, 2011
Boosting Culture

Culture makes up an indispensable part of our lives, just like material comfort. It is thought of as an important source of a nation's vitality and creativity, and constitutes a key factor uniting the nation, while making it distinctive from other countries. It is also said culture is a productive power that not only shapes human concepts and impacts their behavior, but also contributes in no small measure to the betterment of our material as well as spiritual world.

Realizing the crucial importance of culture in a nation's development, China has, over the past decade, implemented a series of restructuring and preferential policies to boost and enliven the country's cultural industries. Thanks to these endeavors, the cultural industries expanded at an amazingly fast pace, taking in 1.1 trillion yuan ($172 billion) in value added in 2010, up 24.2 percent annually from 2008. With a revitalization plan for the cultural industries, sanctioned by the Central Government in July 2009, China's cultural industries have been granted the same strategic status as 10 other industries, including steelmaking, automobiles, petrochemicals and textiles, making it a top priority for the nation's advancement.

Despite the progress made and the status bestowed on the industries, challenges are emerging. For instance, the growth momentum of cultural industries does not match that of the economy. What is more, it does not meet the Chinese people's growing needs for a variety of quality cultural products. It was at this juncture the ruling Communist Party of China convened a plenum on October 15-18, at which new guidelines for the cultural industries were set down by the top leadership. These included concrete steps, such as market deregulation and new and different allocation of financial resources, to strive to create a greater cultural boom.

The goals set accord precisely with China's present development stage. In the vast cultural industries, China is dwarfed by some other developed nations with strong cultural prowess. A Chinese Academy of Social Sciences report released back in August said China's cultural industry revenue now stands for barely 4 percent of the world total, while those of the United States, the EU and Japan account for 43 percent, 34 percent and 10 percent, respectively. In these countries, the production of various cultural goods constitutes a much greater part of economic activity and contributes significantly to their economic and cultural development.

China indeed needs to reach a state of parity to develop its cultural industries into a powerhouse, not only to satisfy the growing demands of the Chinese people for healthier and more enriched cultural lives, and raise the cultural and moral integrity of the nation, but also to maintain more balanced economic, social and cultural development for the nation, as well as boost China's overall competitiveness.

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