Beijing to Invest 7 Billion yuan on Museums

China's capital is planning to invest seven billion yuan (854 million US dollars) in building and renovating museums, a vice-mayor of the Beijing Municipal Government said Wednesday.

Zhang Mao told a conference on cultural relics that the city is renovating several relics sites and building more museums in preparation for the 2008 Olympics.

"By 2008, Beijing will have 130 museums," Zhang said.

A number of large museums are being renovated and expanded at present, such as the Beijing Planetarium and China's Agriculture Museum. New museums in the construction plan include the National Museum and National Gallery of Arts.

The new Capital Museums is expected to open by 2005, said Mei Ninghua, director of the municipal bureau of cultural relics.

Beijing now has 118 museums, 22 more than it had in 1996. Some new museums in the districts and counties were built by certain industries, enterprises and social organizations.

Meanwhile, some museums and memorials have been established at the sites of ancient buildings.

Each year, over 200 permanent exhibitions and 400 touring ones are held in Beijing's museums, which attract 30 million visitors, according to figures from the bureau.

People's Daily Online ---