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Literature   News Agencies and Newspapers    Acrobatics    Painting    Libraries     Protection of Cultural Relics    Television


Introduction : The Chinese government has spared no effort to promote economic, cultural and educational progress in the areas inhabited by minority people, and to improve the material, cultural and living standards of the broad masses of the minority people while attaching great importance to respecting their religious beliefs and customs, and protecting their cultural legacy.

Most Tibetans believe in Tibetan Buddhism. Now Tibet has more than 1,700 places for Buddhist activities, with more than 46,000 lamas resident in monasteries. Almost every Buddhist dwelling has a small scripture hall or prayer niche. Every year, the number of Buddhists going to Lhasa to worship totals more than one million. Since the 1980s, the Central Government has allocated more than 200 million RMB yuan to Tibet for the renovation of the Potala Palace, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the Jokhang Temple, the Samye Monastery, and other places of worship. In addition, special funds were allocated for the publication of the Tibetan editions of The Tripitaka (The Buddhist Canon) and other classics, and the China Advanced Institute of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in Beijing, and the Institute of Tibetan Buddhism, in Lhasa. In 1995, in accordance with the religious rituals and historical conventions of Tibetan Buddhism, including lot-drawing from a golden urn, the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Erdeni was discovered. Thus, China completed the identification, confirmation and enthronement of the 11th Panchen Erdeni.

In Xinjiang and Ningxia, the government provides various services to Moslems for pilgrimages. Since the 1980s, more than 40,000 Chinese Muslims have gone to Mecca. Now Xinjiang has more than 23,000 mosques, and 29,000 clergy to meet the religious needs of Muslims. The Islamic Association of Xinjiang has founded the Institute of Islamic Theology, and published the Koran in the Uygur language. The Chinese government respects the dietetic customs and burial rites of the minority peoples who believe in Islam, and has worked out laws and regulations on producing Muslim food and opened Muslim cemeteries.

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Since the initiation of the reform and opening to the outside world in 1978, publishing has flourished in China. There is a great diversity of books and periodicals, covering a wide range of disciplines and categories. They are playing an increasingly important role in disseminating the Party and state’s guiding principles and policies, reflecting the achievements of the reform and opening, displaying the new aspects of economic construction, spreading scientific and cultural knowledge, and enriching people’s cultural lives

Publication of Books, Magazines and Newspapers





Titles Total print run
(100 million copies, or sheets)
Titles Total print run
(100 million copies)
Titles Total print run
(100 million copies)
1952 13,692 7.9 354 2.0 296 16.1
1978 14,987 37.7 930 7.6 186 127.8
1985 45,603 66.7 4,705 25.6 698 199.8
1990 80,224 56.4 5,751 17.9 773 160.5
1997 120,106 73.1 7,918 24.4 1,077 186.5

Periodicals : Adhering to the guiding principle that “Science and technology is the No. 1 productive forces” and the strategy of “rejuvenating the nation by relying on science and education,” priority is given to scientific and technological periodicals, and their quality is continuously being improved. Scientific and technological periodicals account for increasing percentages of the nation’s total varieties and number of periodicals. About 260,000 scientific and technological articles are published in Chinese scientific and technological periodicals every year, their rankings of retrieval and quotation rates in the world are continuously rising, and their international influence is daily on the increase. There are a group of academic periodicals covering the social sciences, natural sciences and technology. Scientific and technological periodicals include Systematic Science and Mathematics, Aeronautics Journal, Environmental Protection, and Computer Technology. Social science periodicals include Qiushi (Seeking Truth), Social Sciences in China, Jurisprudence, Women of China, China Youth, Historical Research and Democracy and the Legal System. Life, literature and art periodicals include People’s Literature, Family, Popular Cinema, and New Physical Culture. The universal application of modern science and technology, especially electronic and computer technologies, in editing and publishing work has laid a solid foundation for the quality improvement of the periodicals. Most periodicals have their own characteristics and styles, and not a few have reached or approached the world levels in design and printing.

Books :
As China’s society and economy develop in an all-round way, enormous achievements have been attained in book publishing. Particularly since the beginning of the 1990s, a socialist market economy system has been gradually established, giving an impetus to publishing work. The development of economy, science, technology and culture has resulted in an enormous publications market. The gradual establishment of a macro-management system in publishing has led to a more healthy and orderly way of development.

Some 1,169 titles listed in the plan for publishing books in the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1991-1995) have been completed. The Major State Plan for Book Publishing During the Ninth Five-Year Plan Period (1996-2000) has been issued and implemented by the Press and Publications Administration of China. There are 1,200 book titles listed in the plan, of which 353 belong to the social sciences category, 299 belong to the science and technology category, and 181 belong to the literature and art category. For the first time, popular literature, popular science books and books for children and juveniles are listed in the plan. Within the state’s plan, publishing houses nationwide have drawn up their own publication plans.

The 1999 edition of the Word-Ocean Dictionary (Ci Hai), China’s full-length authoritative reference work, was presented to readers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. The newly revised edition includes a color-picture edition, popular edition and compact edition. Compared with previous editions, the new edition of the Word-Ocean Dictionary has completely new forms and contents, with more accurate annotations of the entries, abundant color plates, original format designs, and exquisite printing techniques. Its compilation and revision was a great event for China’s intelligentsia and publishing industry.

Audio-video and electronic publishing: In China, there are 205 audio-video publishers, 93 presses that publish audio-video products to accompany books, and over 260 sound and picture recording, tape duplication and processing units. The Chinese audio-video publishing industry has manufacturing and duplication equipment and technologies of the world’s advanced level, and can produce multi-carrier and multi-size audio-video products including traditional gramophone records, audio-video tapes, video compact disks and digital video disks. In March 1997, the Press and Publications Administration of China, for the first time, formulated and issued the State Plan for Publishing Key Audio-Video Products During the Ninth Five-Year Plan Period. According to the plan, audio-video products fell into 476 kinds in four categories, of which 63 belong to the social sciences category, accounting for 13 percent of the total, 141 belong to the education category, accounting for 30 percent, and 116 belong to the science and technology category, accounting for 24 percent. In recent years, scientific, technological and educational audio-video products have attained a very important status in the audio-video publishing industry in China. In 1995, some 51 such works won prizes at the Fourth Excellent Scientific and Technological Audio-Video Works Award. These works reflect the general level of the scientific and technological videotapes produced and published in recent years. Moreover, the ideological content and artistic quality of literary and artistic audio-video products have been improved too. Zhonghua Dajia Chang Quku (Sing It Together: Karaoke Songs), which was published under the auspices of the Press and Publications Administration of China and other departments, contains 1,000 excellent Chinese and foreign songs and comes in four forms: tape, videotape, video compact disk and songbook. This work has put an end to the situation in which the Chinese karaoke market was dominated by overseas audio-video products.

With the expansion of the information processing industry in China, an electronic publications market is rapidly forming. In the early 1990s, electronic publishing was already burgeoning in China. At present, there are 36 electronic publishing units operating with the permission of the Press and Publications Administration of China, putting out more than 200 electronic publications. Of them, the most popular CD-Roms are The Whole World As One Community, Chinese Encyclopedia, Chinese Folk Arts, Chinese Arts Through the Ages, The Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, The Imperial Palace, Chinese Pharmaceutical Encyclopedia, Chinese Laws and Regulations Encyclopedia, and Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

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Peking Opera and local Operas

China boasts more than 300 forms of traditional opera, of which Peking Opera is the most popular. It took shape in the early 19th century in Beijing, hence the name. Peking Opera is a unique art combining drama, singing, music, dancing and martial arts into one. There are more than 1,000 works in the repertoire, developed over 200 years. In the 50 years since the founding of New China the state and people have paid great attention to Peking Opera. A lot of new works have been staged, with themes ranging from historical stories, modern revolutionary war and socialist construction to everyday life. At the same time, a group of outstanding Peking Opera actors and actresses have emerged, including Mei Lanfang, Cheng Yanqiu, Ma Lianliang, Zhou Xinfang, and Du Jinfang. To develop the quintessence of Chinese culture many artists and opera fans have done a lot of work to promote this genre, even attracting foreign audiences.

At the Crossroads has been performed in many countries. Three martial heroes meet in an inn. They quarrel, and attempt to secretly kill each other in the dark. The skillful acrobatics called for in this opera are both thrilling and humorous. Combat routines in the Peking Opera repertoire such as this one combines Chinese martial arts and the dramatic art and the actors and actresses must undergo strict physical and skill training from childhood before they can live up to the roles they play in such routines. Outstanding among them was the late Mr. Gai Jiao Tien, who performed these militant acts still with ease even at the age of 70.

Mei Lanfang, who always played female roles, introduced Peking Opera to Japan, the United States and the USSR as early as in the 1920s and 1930s.

The Peking Opera Institute, founded in 1950, has trained a lot of excellent Peking Opera actors and actresses who have inherited the artistic achievements of previous generations and developed new characteristics of their own. At the same time, the other local operas have made reforms continuously, on the basis of keeping their basic traditions. Some of the local operas have become very popular in recent years, such as Yueju (Shaoxing Opera from Zhejiang), Huangmeixi (from Anhui), Chuanju (Sichuan Opera), Yuju (Henan Opera), and Yueju (Guangdong Opera). Tibetan opera has a religious tinge and is imbued with Tibetan ethnic folklore. It is bold and unconstrained and is becoming more and more popular both at home and abroad.

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The past 90 years or so have seen such excellent movies as Angels of the Street, Spring in a Small Town and Yellow Earth, and eminent movie artists such as Ruan Lingyu, Xie Jin and Zhang Yimou.

In the 20 years since the introduction of China’s reform and opening to the outside world Chinese film workers have kept forging ahead and a galaxy of talented movie artists have come to the fore. Artistic productivity and creation have been unprecedentedly vigorous. The period from the mid-1980s to the early part of the 1990s is usually called the second climax of the development of Chinese movies. During this period, with the ideological emancipation of the Chinese people, Chinese movies started to reach a stage of unprecedentedly democratic and active artistic creation. A number of excellent movies, such as The Founding of New China, Zhou Enlai and Qiu Ju Goes to Court were shot. In the 1990s, China entered an age of particularly active economic growth. Movies advocating patriotism, collectivism and the striving for a happy life through honest labor have become the mainstream of creation. The outstanding examples of these were The Great Turning-Point, The Opium War, and Red River Valley.

Another conspicuous phenomenon is the creation of movies with the themes of “good people and good deeds,” as well as ethics. For example, In the Days Since I Left Lei Feng, which hailed the spirit of Lei Feng, a soldier who was always ready to help others and is well known to the Chinese people, was very popular. The creation mode of mainstream Chinese films has been gradually improved, and now meets the demands of the market.

Another feature of Chinese movies in the 1990s is the introduction of first-class foreign movies to China, which have stimulated the interest of Chinese audiences, brought more profits to cinemas, and stimulated film workers’ ideas and creativity, thus pushing forward the reform of the systems of creation, distribution and showing of Chinese films. The preliminary establishment of the independent producer system in the 1980s changed the situation in which state investment was the main form of funding for movies. The investment in movies is tending to become more rationalized, and financing channels and the themes of movies are becoming more diversified.

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Chinese characters evolved from pictures and signs, and the unique Chinese calligraphy came into being during the development of writing. Using fine paper, brushes and ink, calligraphers have evolved a richly varied tradition of calligraphic styles, which have been handed down from generation to generation.

Great calligraphers came to the fore in each dynasty. Their calligraphy and styles thus became representative of their time. The best-known of them was the “Sage Calligrapher” Wang Xizhi of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. His cursive script is handsome, bold and unrestrained, and has been described as “like dragons flying and phoenixes dancing.” His son, Wang Xianzhi, was also a famous calligrapher. The Tang Dynasty was a brilliant age of calligraphy. Ouyang Xun, Chu Suiliang, Yan Zhenqing and Liu Gongquan were the great master calligraphers of that time, and their works have been models for students of calligraphy to this day.

The modern master calligrapher is Wu Changshuo. His work often appears on paintings, in a seal-like format. The Chinese Calligraphers’ Association and local calligraphers’ associations at all levels often stage competitions and hold exhibitions. Universities, enterprises and institutions have their own calligraphy associations.

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Arts and Crafts

China has a wide variety of arts and crafts with exquisite workmanship. They can be classified into special and folk types. Special arts and crafts, such as ivory carving, jade carving and Shoushan stone carving use precious or special materials, and undergo elaborate designing and processing. They are elegant and expensive. The following are famous special arts and crafts.

The major ivory carving centers are Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Beijing is mainly famed for ivory carvings of figures of ladies, as well as flowers and birds. Guangzhou is well known for its exquisitely carved ivory balls. Shanghai is famous for its delicate ivory figures. The ivory carvings are exquisitely executed and lifelike. However, the technique of ivory carving is gradually declining for lack of materials.

Jade carving takes into consideration the natural lines, luster and colors of jade. Craftsmen ingeniously integrate the colors with the shapes of the art works, fully displaying the glory of nature. Stone carving is created using various rare types of stone, such as the Shoushan Stone and Tianhuang Stone.

Carved lacquerware, shaped like bottles, pots and large screens, is created out of pure lacquer. Usually bright red, it is classically elegant and beautiful. Cloisonne is a kind of handicraft well known at home and abroad. The blue glaze produced during the reign of Emperor Jingtai of the Ming Dynasty is considered the best. Created by mounting copper strips and plating gold and silver on the surface of a copper roughcast, it looks resplendent and magnificent. The products include bottles, bowls, and cups used as prizes, etc.

Chinese folk arts, with a broad mass foundation as well as a long history, contain profound cultural and historical connotations. They can stimulate people’s aesthetic sense and appreciative taste. Throughout the ages, Chinese folk arts have had a strong local flavor as well as a national style, different in postures and beautiful beyond appreciation. In technique, Chinese folk arts fall into the categories of cutting, bundling, plaiting, knitting, embroidering, carving, molding and painting.

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China had imperial and private collections of cultural relics in each dynasty, but the first museum worthy of the name in China was set up by foreigners in the mid-19th century. The first museum established by the Chinese themselves was the Nantong Museum, which was set up by industrialist Zhang Jian in 1905. In 1912, preparations were made for the construction of the History Museum, the first national museum after the founding of the Republic of China, in the former Imperial College (the highest educational administration in the previous feudal China) in Beijing. In 1949, there were no more than 21 museums in China.

In October 1949, the Ministry of Culture established the State Administration of Cultural Relics, which was in charge of the work of museums nationwide, and drew up a series of decrees, guiding principles and policies concerning both cultural relics and the setting up of museums. By 1999, there were 1,371 museums nationwide run by cultural relics administrative departments alone. If those run by other departments are included, the total number of China’s museums will be well over 1,800. There are museums specializing in social history, arts, minerals, local customs, and science and technology. A large number of museums well known at home and abroad, such as the Palace Museum, the Museum of Chinese History, the China Aviation Museum, the China Geological Museum, the China Coin Museum, the China Printing Museum, the Shanghai Museum, the Nanjing Museum, the Shaanxi History Museum, the Henan Museum, the Liaoning Provincial Museum, the Gansu Provincial Museum, and the Yunnan Museum of National Minorities, as well as more than 300 memorial museums reflecting the glorious revolutionary traditions of the Chinese people, including the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, the Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution, the China Opium War Museum, the Wuchang Memorial Hall for the Revolution of 1911, the Memorial Hall of the Site of the Huangpu Military Academy, the Memorial Hall of the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Jinggang Mountains Revolutionary Museum, the Yan’an Revolutionary Memorial Museum, the Memorial Hall of the War of Resistance Against Japan, the Former Residence of Sun Yat-sen, the Birthplace of Mao Zedong and the Former Residence of Deng Xiaoping are noted for their rich collections of cultural relics, exhibitions, social educational roles, active academic atmosphere, substantial research achievements and increasingly advanced modern scientific administration. Attention is now being paid to the design and construction of new museums to promote the coordinated development of quantity, quality, type and distribution of museums.

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The Central People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS), the nation’s official broadcasting station, formally began broadcasting on December 5, 1949. Now it has seven programs and broadcasts for a total of 128 hours per day. On August 15, 1954, the CPBS began to broadcast to Taiwan. Currently, its No. 5 and No. 6 programs are oriented toward people of all walks of life in Taiwan, broadcasting in standard Chinese, and the southern Fujian and Hakka dialects to Taiwan, the southeast coastal areas on the mainland, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. The No. 7 program, called “Voice of China,” began its formal broadcasting on June 18, 1994, and broadcasts for 21 hours per day, to the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao.

China Radio International
(CRI), the sole radio station in China beamed to all parts of the world. CRI has offices in Tokyo, Belgrade, Paris, Islamabad, Mexico City, Washington, Bonn, Bangkok, Cairo, Moscow, New York (United Nations), Brussels and Nairobi, and sends permanent correspondents to Hong Kong. It has established relations with radio organizations in more than 60 countries and regions to exchange programs and conduct personnel exchanges and mutual visits. CRI transmits or mails various programs introducing China, totaling about 1,400 hours, to foreign radio and television stations every year. CRI programs are beamed to all parts of the world in 38 foreign languages, the standard Chinese and four Chinese dialects. It broadcasts in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese across Chinese mainland, and in English, standard Chinese and Cantonese to the Pearl River Delta area. In addition to the news programs, there are over 400 special programs. Currently, CRI is the largest overseas news organization broadcasting in the most languages in China, and ranks third in overseas broadcasting time and languages in the world.

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Spoken Drama

The early years of New China witnessed vigor in the sphere of spoken drama. The Young Generation, Teahouse, and other excellent spoken dramas had a great impact on many young people. After the end of the “cultural revolution” in 1976, spoken drama witnessed its prosperity again, when When All the Sounds Are Hushed, When Maple Leaves Are Red, and other wrathful works which complained about the crimes of the “Gang of Four” who brought calamities to China and its people, appeared. Afterwards, such works as Chen Yi Comes Down from the Mountain, Great General Peng Dehuai and Sun Yat-sen eulogized the great achievements of revolutionaries of the older generation with great admiration.

In addition, a large number of traditional-type spoken dramas were produced. For instance, such new costume dramas as Song of the Great Wind, Tang Emperor Li Shimin, Wang Zhaojun, and Song-tsen Gampo were filled with the vehement spirit of the time. Also, many rearranged or transplanted ancient, modern and foreign spoken dramas were staged. After the Chinese Dramatists’ Association set up the Cao Yu Chinese Dramatic Literature Prize, such excellent spoken dramas as Mayor Chen Yi, Warm Currents Outside the Room, Duet Romance, Weddings and Funerals, Tang Poet Li Bai, and A Crouching Tiger on Mount Zhong won the prize successively.

The 17th Plum Blossom Awards for Chinese Dramas sponsored by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Chinese Dramatists Association were announced in Beijing in March 2000, with 39 people winning awards for excellent performances.

Shen Tiemei of the Sichuan Opera Theater of Chongqing, Song Guofeng of the Liaoning People’s Art Theater, Feng Yuping of the Shenyang Pingju Opera Theater, Ding Jiali of the Chinese Youth Art Theater and Zhu Shihui of the Peking Opera Theater of Hubei Province won Plum Blossom Awards for the second time. Eighteen traditional opera performers including Zhang Huoding of the China Peking Opera Theater, Han Zaifen of the No. 2 Anqing Huangmei Opera Troupe of Anhui Province, and Qian Huili of the Shanghai Shaoxing Opera Theater, and ten modern drama performers including Ni Dahong of the Central Experimental Modern Drama Theater, three modern opera performers including Sun Yi of the China Opera and Dance Drama Theater, and three performers of professional folk theatrical troupes including Yang Hongli of the Jinzhong Xiaomingqin Shanxi Opera Troupe of Shanxi Province won Plum Blossom Awards for the first time.

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Ancient literature is a precious cultural heritage of China’s several thousand years of civilization. The Book of Songs, a collection of 305 folk ballads of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn Period, compiled in the sixth century B.C., is China’s earliest anthology of poetry. Qu Yuan of the Warring States Period, China’s first great poet, wrote Li Sao (The Lament), an extended lyric poem. The Book of Songs and Li Sao are regarded as classics in Chinese literary history. Later, different literary styles developed in subsequent dynasties. There were pre-Qin prose, magnificent Han fu (rhymed prose), and the yuefu folk songs of the end of the Han Dynasty. Records of the Historian, written by Sima Qian of the Han Dynasty, is respected as a model of biographical literature, and “The Peacock Flies to the Southeast” represents the magnificent yuefu folk songs. These are all well known among the Chinese people. The Wei and Jin dynasties (220-420) were a great period for the production of poetry. The poems written by Cao Cao, a statesman and man of letters of that time, and by his sons Cao Pi and Cao Zhi, are fervent and vigorous. They are outstanding forerunners of the progressive literature of later generations. The Tang Dynasty gave birth to a great number of men of letters. The Complete Tang Poems is an anthology of more than 50,000 poems. Representative poets include Li Bai, Du Fu and Bai Juyi, who are the pride of the Chinese people. The Song Dynasty is well known for its ci (lyric). Song lyricists may be divided into two groups. The first, best represented by Liu Yong and Li Qingzhao, is known as the “gentle school”; the second, the “bold and unconstrained school,” is best represented by Su Shi and Xin Qiji. The most notable achievement of Yuan Dynasty literature was the zaju, poetic drama set to music. Snow in Midsummer by celebrated playwright Guan Hanqing and The Western Chamber written by another zaju master, Wang Shipu, are masterpieces of the ancient drama. The Ming and Qing dynasties saw the development of the novel. The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, Outlaws of the Marsh by Shi Nai’an, Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, and A Dream of Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin are the four masterpieces produced in this form during this period. They have been celebrated for centuries for their rich historical and cultural connotations, and unique style.

The new cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s was an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal movement. Progressive writers, represented by Lu Xun, gave birth to modern Chinese literature. The most outstanding representative works of this era are the novels The Diary of a Madman and The True Story of Ah Q by Lu Xun, the poetry anthology The Goddesses by Guo Moruo, the novel Midnight by Mao Dun, the trilogy novels Family, Spring and Autumn by Ba Jin, the novel Camel Xiangzi by Lao She, and the plays Thunderstorm and Sunrise by Cao Yu.

The founding of New China in 1949 serves as a signpost for the beginning of contemporary Chinese literature. Works of this period reflect the hard struggle and tremendous sacrifices during the long War of Liberation, and eulogize the selflessness displayed in the building of socialist New China. The representative works are the novels Red Crag by Luo Guangbin and Yang Yiyan, Song of Youth by Yang Mo, The Hurricane by Zhou Libo and Builders of a New Life by Liu Qing. During the 10-year “cultural revolution” (1966-1976),literature was deliberately hamstrung, leaving a desolate literary wasteland. But since the reform and opening to the outside world started in 1978, literary creation has entered a new period. Some works of the early period of the new era mainly described the emotional wounds the people suffered during the “cultural revolution.” The main works include The Wound by Lu Xinhua, The Blood-stained Magnolia by Cong Weixi, Mimosa by Zhang Xianliang, A Small Town Called Hibiscus by Gu Hua and The Snowstorm Tonight by Liang Xiaosheng. Some works are called works “seeking the roots,” for example, Red Sorghum by Mo Yan, Black Steed by Zhang Chengzhi, Snuff-Bottle by Deng Youmei and Besieged by Liu Heng. Realistic literature of this period includes The Scenery by Fang Fang, Pagoda Depot by Liu Zhengyun and Troubled Life by Chi Li. In recent years, a diversifying tendency has appeared in literary works. Those with historical themes include The Young Son of Heaven by Lin Li, Zeng Guofan by Tang Haoming, Emperor Yongzheng by Eryue He and Mending the Crack in the Sky by Huo Da. Making a Decision by Zhang Ping and Farewell to the Bitter Winter by Zou Yuezhao reflect current real life.

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News Agencies and Newspapers

News agencies: China has two news agencies—Xinhua (New China) News Agency and China News Service. Xinhua is the nation’s official news agency, with its head office in Beijing. Its major task is to collect and distribute important news and information concerning politics, economy and culture in both China and the rest of the world. In 1944 Xinhua News Agency began overseas broadcasting in English, and in 1948 its first overseas branch was established. Beginning in the 1950s, Xinhua News Agency has gradually developed into a major international news agency. Its head office is composed of the Overseas News Department, the International News Department and other departments. It has major branch offices in the Asian-Pacific region, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and other regions, and more than 100 smaller branches in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and abroad. Xinhua News Agency now releases news, news photos and features abroad in Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and other languages. It has offices in Hong Kong and overseas to publish news releases, offices in Hong Kong, Paris and London to transmit photos, offices in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, North America, and Western and Eastern Europe to supply news releases by telex to the local newspapers, radio stations and news agencies in many languages, and special communication networks between the head office and its branches at home and abroad. Xinhua News Agency has signed agreements with more than 80 overseas news agencies and opinion and news departments to exchange.

news and news photos. With its head office in Beijing, China News Service mainly supplies news to overseas Chinese, foreign citizens of Chinese origin, and compatriots in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region, and Taiwan. Established in 1952, it formally began to broadcast and airmail news items on October 1 of the same year.

China News Service has branches and reporting stations in all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region, and branches in the United States, Japan, France, Australia and other countries.

As a comprehensive news agency, China News Service has modern and diversified news transmission methods. It covers a wide range of news business, mainly supplying news dispatches and photos, special dispatches, features and audio-video products to overseas Chinese media and overseas Chinese organizations. As an important organization for news exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan, its journalists have traveled to Taiwan to cover news and it has received journalists from Taiwan.

Newspapers: In 1950, there were 205 newspapers in China, putting out more than 400 million copies a year. Beginning in the 1980s, newspapers have developed rapidly, and a multi-level and multi-format newspaper structure, with the Party newspapers at the core, has been formed. Apart from the Party newspapers and mass organization newspapers, there are daily, evening, morning and weekly newspapers published according to their distribution time, and peasants’, workers’, enterprise and professional newspapers published according to their readers’ professions. Of these newspapers, some focus on transmitting economic, scientific and technological information, and some aim at satisfying cultural needs. According to statistics, by 1999, 20.1 billion copies of national-and provincial-level newspapers had been published. Currently, the main national newspapers in China are the People’s Daily and its overseas edition, Guangming Daily, Daily Economic News, Liberation Army Daily, Chinese Youth News, Chinese Women’s News, Chinese Education News, China Sports News, Workers’ Daily, Peasants’ Daily, Science and Technology Daily and the English-language China Daily.

On June 8, 1998, the two large newspaper groups Guangming Daily and Daily Economic News were listed on China’s two stock exchanges, thus becoming the first national-level newspaper groups in China. On July 25 of the same year, the Shanghai Wen Hui Bao and Xinmin Evening News joint newspaper group was set up in Shanghai. This was an important measure to promote news reforms, and marked a new development stage for Chinese newspapers.

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As early as in the Spring and Autumn Period, the art of acrobatics made its debut in China. The first type of acrobatics developed was strength acrobatics, with warriors whirling heavy wheels with their hands. In the Han Dynasty, acrobatic shows became important amusements frequently enjoyed at palace banquets as well as celebrations of the common people.

Ancient acrobatics was handed down from generation to generation. Performances include such well-known ones as “Jumping Through Hoops,” “Diabolos,” “Tightrope Walking,” “Juggling with the Feet,” “Juggling with the Flower Jar,” “Plate Spinning,” and “A Pagoda of Bowls.” After the founding of the PRC in 1949, acrobatics developed rapidly, with the encouragement of the Chinese government. Now, there are nearly 100 acrobatic troupes above the county level, and thousands of non-governmental acrobatic troupes. A large contingent of professional and part-time acrobats has come into being. China has sent hundreds of acrobatic troupes abroad to perform in over 100 countries and regions. From 1981 to 1997, China won gold prizes on 35 occasions, such as the “Prize of the President of the Republic of France,” and the top prize at the “Tomorrow and the Future” International Acrobatic Festival held in France. So far, China has won 85 gold prizes at international acrobatic contests. The superb skills of Chinese acrobats have been praised by people all over the world, and China has been recognized as the leading country in the acrobatics field.

There are many places in China where acrobatics is a local specialty, such as Liaocheng in Shandong Province, Yancheng in Jiangsu Province, Puyang in Henan Province, Tianmen in Hubei Province, Guangde in Anhui Province and Wuqing near Tianjin. In particular, Wuqiao in Hebei Province has gained a shining reputation both at home and abroad. Since 1987, the China Wuqiao International Acrobatics Festival has been held once every two years.

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A network of libraries has been formed nationwide, including public libraries, university or college libraries, scientific research institution libraries or reading rooms, trade union libraries, and those attached to government organizations, army units, primary or secondary schools, townships, enterprises, and local communities. At the end of 1999, China had 2,769 public libraries above the county level, over 1,100 university or college libraries, more than 8,000 medium-or large-scale scientific research institution libraries, and many primary and secondary school libraries and trade union libraries as well. The National Library of China is the largest library in Asia.

In the past few years, the conditions of China’s libraries have been greatly improved. Many libraries have been built or extended, and others are to be rebuilt. Modern science and technology, such as computers, microfiche, reading machines, duplicators and audio-visual aids are now available in some libraries. As places for collecting, sorting, storing and transmitting documentary information, libraries are increasingly playing an important role in China’s socialist construction. Libraries at all levels have prolonged opening hours, adopted the open-shelf policy, increased the numbers of reading desks, expanded the range of reading, and simplified check-out formalities. Exhibitions, reports, knowledge contests, direct mail, subscription, and home-delivery service are used to publicize and introduce library materials, and raise the circulation rate of books and magazines. These efforts are backed up by follow-up services, services on special topics, manuscript editing, source indexing, information desks, and technology market participation. In addition, the regular and spare-time education of library science is developing vigorously, producing more librarians and library researchers. The China Society of Library Science, which was set up in 1979, and societies of library science established later in different regions, have done a great deal to improve research into the theory and practice of library science. Moreover, libraries have markedly developed exchanges with their counterparts abroad in recent years.

In April 2000, the “China Digital Library” project entered its all-out construction phase. The project will witness the establishment of its structure, the drafting of a plan for its implementation, research into the norms and applications concerning the digital library and into the construction of digital library resources, study of intellectual property rights and key technical problems during the construction of the digital library, and the construction of a sample digital library.

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The roots of Chinese painting can be traced back to paintings on Neolithic pottery, such as figures of fish, frogs, deer, birds, flowers, tree leaves and dances, 6,000-7,000 years old. The earliest Chinese characters were pictographs. Since similar tools and lines were used for the earliest painting and writing, painting is said to have the same origin as calligraphy. Thus, Chinese painting has an outstanding characteristic, that is to say, poetry or calligraphy are inscribed on paintings so that the three are integrated, giving people a keener enjoyment of beauty.

Many ancient Chinese paintings were executed on walls or decorative screens. Today, murals can be seen in the tombs of the Han, Tang and other dynasties. Gu Kaizhi, a famous painter of the Jin Dynasty, was good at presenting historical themes. His painting The Nymph of the Luo River portrayed poet Cao Zhi’s meeting with the goddess. The Tang and Song dynasties were the golden age of Chinese painting. The Tang painter Wu Daozi, called the “Sage Painter,” was an expert at figure and landscape painting. Riverside Scenes at the Qingming Festival, a genre painting of significant historical value done by the Northern Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zeduan, depicts the bustling scene in the then capital during the festival. The Tang painters Li Sixun and Li Zhaodao, who were father and son, used mineral substances as pigment to paint landscape paintings, which were called “magnificent landscapes.” Wang Wei practiced watercolor painting with vigorous strokes depicting floating clouds and flowing water. Flower-and-bird painting is also an important traditional Chinese painting genre.

Contemporary painters have specialties. Some only paint figures of ladies, and some only paint animals, or even one kind of animal, such as cats, donkeys, or horses. As a result, the more they paint, the better their paintings become.

The Chinese painting world is very active. The China Art Gallery and other art galleries hold individual or joint art exhibitions year in, year out. Also, exhibitions of traditional Chinese paintings have been held in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Different from Western oil paintings, traditional Chinese painting attracts foreign virtuosos and collectors with its Eastern artistic beauty.

China has also made great progress in Western-style painting, such as oil painting, woodcut, and water colors. Many Chinese painters have created works that combine traditional Chinese painting techniques with those of the West, adding splendor to Chinese painting.

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Protection of Cultural Relics

Since the beginning of the 1990s, China has protected a huge number of cultural relics and achieved remarkable success. The special subsidies appropriated by the Central Government for the protection of cultural relics in more than 1,000 projects have reached about 700 million RMB yuan. As a result, a large number of cultural relics have been saved from destruction. Prominent successes in the maintenance and protection of historical sites are the Potala Palace (Lhasa, Tibet), the Kumbum Monastery (Huangzhong County, Qinghai Province), the Caves at Mount Sumeru (Guyuan County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region), the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Cave (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region), the Longmen Grottoes (Luoyang City, Henan Province), the Yungang Caves (Datong City, Shanxi Province), the Goddess Hall (Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province), the Mountain Summer Resort (Chengde City, Hebei Province), the Thatched Cottage of Tang Poet Du Fu (Chengdu City, Sichuan Province), and the Tianyi Pavilion (Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province). In 1996, the State Council announced the fourth batch of national important cultural relics protection units, numbering 250 and bringing the total to 750. There are 99 national historical and cultural cities. In 1995, the UNESCO placed on the World Heritage List the Potala Palace in Tibet, the Mountain Summer Resort, together with its adjacent temples in Chengde City, Hebei Province, the Confucius Temple, the Confucius Family Mansion and the Confucius cemetery in Qufu City, Shandong Province, and the ancient architectural complex on Mount Wudang in Hubei Province.

The planned scientific excavation of cultural relics has laid a good foundation for the improvement of archeological theory and practice, and research into ancient Chinese history. Aeronautical, underwater and desert archeological studies have provided important historical information and data for economic construction, and new techniques of and approaches to the development of cultural relics protection.

In recent years, China has been taking an unprecedentedly active part in foreign exchanges and cooperation in terms of cultural relics. About 150 cultural relics exhibitions have been held in the U.S., Argentina, France, Britain,

Germany, Italy, Denmark, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, and Singapore. The Exhibition of Tombs of Chinese Emperors held in the U.S., the Exhibition of Tibetan Treasures and the Exhibition of the Yellow River Civilization held in Italy, and the Exhibition of Laolan’s Cultural Relicsand the Exhibition of the Terracotta Legion of the First Qin Emperor held in Japan presented the splendors of the great ancient Chinese civilization to large and appreciative audience.

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In spring 1958, China established its first television station—Beijing Television, which later became. China Central Television (CCTV). Beijing Television went into operation on September 2 of the same year. Thereafter, for quite a long period of time, television developed slowly as a result of the nation’s slow economic development.

But with the introduction of the reform and opening policies, television entered a golden age, beginning in the 1980s. Thereafter, in the space of eight years the television population increased by 61 million every year. Now, there are 300 million TV sets and 1.1 billion TV viewers in China. On May 4, 1992, Beijing Cable Television formally went into operation. Beijing viewers were delighted that they could at last watch clear images from dozens of channels instead of only a few.

The Chinese government spares no efforts to help border and remote areas get access to television broadcasts. Border and remote cities, counties and towns now all have television transmitting and relay facilities, and the number of television viewers is growing steadily. Television microwave links and satellite ground stations beam programs to 24 million people of various national minorities.

China Central Television and more than 3.000 other television stations nationwide as well as the satellite and ground network systems constitute the largest television network in the world. This underlines the tremendous strength of Chinese television in both quantity and quality and greatly livens up the culture of the nation with the largest population in the world.

Besides appraisal and giving awards, the yearly Shanghai Television Festival also conducts academic television exchanges and the import and export of television programs, and holds international television set exhibitions and technology exchanges. Shanghai has become the largest television program trading market in Asia.

On April 1, 1996, China Central Television leased three satellites and four transmitters from the Pan-American Corporation, enabling it to transmit programs on its international channel to most parts of the world. On July 1 and October 1, 1996, the programs of CCTV’s opera and music channels were transmitted to all parts of the world by satellites of the Pan-American Corporation.

CCTV has established business relations with more than 250 television organizations in over 130 countries and regions.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.


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