BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China has launched a scheme to build an national system of state restoration centers to better protect its ancient books, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) said at a meeting here on Monday.
"We will pool resources to restore damaged ancient books," said Zhou Heping, vice-minister of the MOC, at the meeting on protection of ancient books, adding those listed in the national catalog of precious ancient books would be renovated first.
The catalog covers precious editions of ancient literary works, Chinese classics and historical records, which were printed or inscribed on bamboo sticks, silk fabrics, wood plaques, from the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), either in Chinese or in languages of minority ethnic groups, such as Tibetan and Mongolian.
A state center is set to have a staff of at least eight full-time technicians who have been practising renovation for more than ten years.
The MOC will finance the restoration work, and it plans to name three or four restoration centers this year alone.
The ministry also has plans to train 1,500 people by the end of July next year, with an aim of having a trained body of 6,000 people by the end of 2012 to man the major ancient book centers in each province.
Also on Monday, State Councilor Liu Yandong called for nationwide protection of ancient books at a ceremony held to issue licenses to departments responsible for protecting ancient books.
"These books serve as a cultural line passing down the national spirit. It is an important part of our cultural preservation work to protect them," Liu said.
Liu, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, urged all relevant departments to give it top priority to save endangered copies, strengthen the management on these ancient books and make reasonable use of them.