“A nongovernmental organization that had run a rural library project with as many as 22 libraries across China has announced that it is closing down, citing “tremendous pressure” from the local authorities. Since 2007, Liren — which means helping someone find his way — had devoted itself to providing children in underprivileged areas with free access to books and fostering independent thinking. Its founder, Li Yingqiang, who studied economics at Peking University, had started by building a library in his own former school in Hubei Province. From there, the group formed partnerships with other primary and secondary schools, donating books and sending volunteers to help run libraries and organize reading sessions for students. Some Liren libraries that did not have partnerships with local schools were run by volunteers from private premises.” (via NYTimes.com)
“Decades ago, the thousands of Tibetan-language books now ensconced in a lavishly decorated library in southwest China might have ended up in a raging bonfire. During the tumultuous decade of the Cultural Revolution, which ended in 1976, Red Guard zealots destroyed anything deemed “feudal.” But an American scholar, galvanized in part by those rampages, embarked on a mission to collect and preserve the remnants of Tibetan culture. The resulting trove of 12,000 works, many gathered from Tibetan refugees, recently ended a decades-long odyssey that brought them to a new library on the campus of the Southwest University for Nationalities here in Chengdu.” (via NYTimes.com)
“Recently OverDrive CEO Steve Potash was in Asia for a number of events including the IFLA annual conference as well as the Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF). During BIBF the China National Publications Import & Export Corporation (CNPIEC) and OverDrive signed an E-Publications Import License Agreement, in an official signing ceremony. With this agreement in place, OverDrive can now take steps towards making OverDrive’s catalog of digital content available in China to libraries and retailers.” (via OverDrive)
“Chinese subway riders using Shanghai’s Metro Line 2 will soon have their very own unofficial library. Pick up a book at one station, drop it off at any other. The project was initiated by a bookstore, the subway line and the online education provider Hujiang.com. “Now you can read a real book, rather than staring at the cellphone through the metro ride,” said Zou Shuxian, an Aizhi bookstore spokesperson, told the China Daily.” (via LA Times)
“Since 2007, China has spent a massive amount of money to ensure that all villages have access to libraries with well-selected books, newspapers and audiovisual products for people in rural areas. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Wednesday in a statement posted on its website that it has appropriated a total of 5.9 billion yuan (937.99 million US dollars) to subsidize the construction of such rural libraries. In 2012 alone, the MOF earmarked 1.2 billion yuan for subsidizing rural libraries in a bid to put an end to the project of building libraries for all administrative villages in China, according to the statement. The project is one of the nation’s key cultural programs to bring tangible benefits to people living in rural areas, the statement said.”
“At age 80, Chi Wang, the former head of the Library of Congress’ Chinese section in Washington, still has a dream – to open an office in China to enhance the country’s cultural interaction with the United States. Wang helped turn the Chinese section into one of the best library collections of its kind outside Asia, with about 1 million books, newspapers, magazines and films. The Library of Congress had only 300,000 volumes in its China collection when Wang began working there in 1957.”
via China Daily
Xinhua – “Over 80 percent of China’s counties have set up public libraries, attracting a record number of patrons, according to the Ministry of Culture. China’s 2,880 libraries received about 330 million visits in 2010, according to a document released by the Ministry of Culture on Wednesday at an annual meeting on public library projects in the city of Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province.”
NYT – “A government official’s X-rated photos appear on the Internet and immediately go viral. Online traffic spikes as Web users hunt for the images with gleeful schadenfreude. When Representative Anthony D. Weiner’s anatomy dominated headlines in the United States this summer, the curious headed to search engines like Google or Bing to see more than usual of a U.S. politician. But when screen shots from a Web cam, showing a bureaucrat from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in a state of undress, hit the Web in late June, the majority of those who wanted to catch a glimpse of his naked body turned to Baidu, China’s most popular Internet search engine.”
Reuters – “Baidu Inc was sued on Wednesday by eight New York residents who accused China’s biggest search engine of conspiring with the country’s government to censor pro-democracy speech.
The lawsuit claims violations of the U.S. Constitution and according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer is the first of its type.
It was filed more than a year after Google Inc declared it would no longer censor search results in China, and rerouted Internet users to its Hong Kong website.”
AP – “Baidu Inc., which operates China’s leading search engine, said Wednesday it has removed 2.8 million items from an online library after authors complained it was distributing their work without permission.
The company apologized last weekend to Chinese authors and said it would screen material on Baidu Library and remove unauthorized work.”