More dictionaries en route to poor students in SW China

The government of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has announced it will spend 20 million yuan (3 million U.S. dollars) to buy low-price dictionaries for impoverished students who cannot afford a dictionary.

The first batch of 650,000 copies have been delivered to the region and will be distributed to students in more than 30 impoverished counties by the end of April, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the official website of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

These copies were printed and offered at a price of nine yuan by the Commercial Press, publisher of the Xinhua Dictionary.

The original price is usually above 16 yuan.

The Xinhua Dictionary is an important linguistic reference book in China, which standardizes the meaning, formation and pronunciation of Chinese characters.

On Jan. 30, the GAPP launched a campaign to crack down on pirated dictionaries, calling on publishing enterprises to donate dictionaries to poor children following reports that the rampant spread of pirated copies containing errors had severely hindered education in rural areas.

Immediately after the reports, the Commercial Press donated copies to students and teachers in three schools in Guangxi and signed agreements with them on a long-term supply of dictionaries and teacher training programs.

The donation also covered several schools in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces.

In addition, the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation has raised 1 million yuan for its charity dictionary project.

Figures from the regional government of Guangxi show that currently more than 1 million students still do not have dictionaries.