Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Chinese Literacy


Chairman Mao was a prolific reader. It's rumoured he would spend days in bed surrounded by piles of books absorbing a diverse selection ranging from philosophy to politics and religion. If his chosen reading was unavailable he'd plump for anything to hand. One of the observations experienced was that a security guard was reading easily the thickest book I've ever seen a security guard read, anywhere in the world. Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed there are a number of statues around Beijing celebrating the power of books and reading. The one above is outside the Beijing Books Building and was taken as I walked from Xidan through Tiananmen square to Wanfujing over the weekend. Chinese literacy is one of the highest in Asia at around 90% if the CIA world fact book is to be believed. Speaking of facts, asessments of China were recently downgraded by 40% if you were paying attention to what the U.S. controlled World Bank announced yesterday. Makes me wonder what metrics China would use to measure the U.S.

The smog in Beijing at the moment is rather harsh.