In China, the entry to about 50,000 public museums, libraries, art galleries, memorials and other cultural institutions is free, so is the entry to the many lectures and exhibitions these institutions organize.
Yet “someone” pays the bill for the free services.
According to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in April, the central government allocated about 47 billion yuan ($7.2 billion) to these institutions from 2015 to 2020. During the same period, the government also spent about 82 billion yuan to support digital services and volunteers’ work in the cultural field. And more than 300 cities in the country have published catalogues on the cultural services they offer.
“A priority for setting up a network for cultural services is to fix a basic bottom line,” said Zhang Xu, vice minister of culture and tourism. And “a project to build cultural service facilities at the grassroots level is progressing with steady steps”.