Chinese government is to open more museums, memorial halls and national patriotism education bases to the public for free amid efforts to upgrade cultural services.
All national museums and provincial comprehensive museums will stop charging entry fees this year, says a government circular.
Museums and memorial halls listed as national patriotism education bases will open for free, adds the circular, jointly issued by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the ministries of finance and culture, and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage on Jan. 23.
Free entry is also available to museums above county level in Zhejiang, Fujian, Hubei, Jiangxi, Anhui and Gansu provinces and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities are encouraged cut or abolish entry fees according to their circumstances, the circular says.
All museums, memorial halls and national patriotism education bases will be free to visit by 2009 except cultural relics and historical sites, which will have cheap rates for minors, the elderly, soldiers, the disabled and low-income families, says the circular.
For special or guest exhibitions, museums and memorial halls can charge fees, the circular says, and museums are encouraged to have cheap tickets and flexible plans, such as regular free entry, and cheap tickets for groups and families.
China has more than 2,300 museums with more than 20 million exhibits. They received more than 150 million people last year.