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Lawmakers call for better cultural services for elderly, rural residents

Updated: 2016-04-28 09:12

BEIJING - Chinese lawmakers reviewed a draft law on public cultural services on Wednesday, calling for better services for seniors and rural residents.

The draft law to improve public cultural services was submitted for a first reading at the bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs from Monday to Thursday.

During a panel deliberation of the bill on Wednesday afternoon, Chen Chuanshu, member of the NPC Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, noted that the bill does not include cultural facilities for senior citizens under the public cultural services.

As an aging society, China has many community recreation centers for elderly people and about 50,000 community institutions offering continuing education for senior citizens, which should be regulated by the law, Chen said.

The draft law aims to clarify the government's duty to provide basic cultural services for the public, including allocating enough resources and improving management.

Hu Ming, an NPC deputy from east China's Jiangsu Province who observed the deliberation, echoed Chen's proposal by saying that more government resources should be spent on cultural services for the elderly in rural areas.

"Villages often lack funds to build recreation facilities for the elderly, such as a place to practice sports or play games," Hu said. She expects the new bill to help clarify who should sponsor the facilities. < "Left-over" women and children, whose family members have left villages to work in cities, are another group with less access to cultural services. Li Changcai, deputy director of the NPC Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee, argued that the bill should encourage local governments to provide services catering to their needs.

The bill lists a dozen public cultural facilities, including libraries, museums, stadiums, youth recreation centers, neighborhood and village culture centers, and asks them to serve the public for free or at a preferential price.

Lawmakers argued that the bill should also regulate the liability of facility users and punish those who damage the facilities.

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