WHILE others sang and danced to celebrate the Chinese New Year, many spent the week-long holiday in libraries and book stores.
Lin Yuanrong, who works in a law office in Nanning, capital of south Chinas Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was one of them.
Since I can rarely take time out during work time, I have to make up for my reading during the holidays, Lin said.
This new trend to spend holidays in libraries and bookstores was greatly advanced by the countrys call to build a learning society at the 16th Party Congress last November.
The Party Congress for the first time brought forward the concept of building a learning society in which all the people will learn or even pursue life-long education.
In response to this call, regions like Zhejiang, Shaanxi and Guangxi have adopted follow-up measures to encourage learning and reading among their officials and the public.
I read for at least an hour every day and the authorities also organise learning and training among the staff, said Zhang Huanchang, a government employee in Nanning.
China has created an excellent atmosphere for learning and reading now, said Zhou Keda, a professor with the Guangxi Regional Academy of Social Sciences.
Many Chinese, young or old, will by no means give up learning and reading during holidays.
Some experts said it was necessary for China to build a learning society to keep pace with the times, especially after its accession to the World Trade Organisation.
Only by learning hard can we handle problems emerging from our reform and opening up, said Prof Zhou.
However, high book prices still thwart these efforts.
The country of 1.3 billion people spent only about 56 yuan (RM25.46) per capita on books in 2002. - Peoples Daily