Around China: TV services reach China's remote rural regions
LANZHOU, Apr 13, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
Television is as indispensable as
oxygen for Li Fuqiang, a 49-year-old herdsman in Gansu, an
underdeveloped province in northwest China.
"Watching TV is the best way for me and my wife to kill the
free time we have after grazing and get to know what happens
elsewhere," said Li, whose family prefers news and legal channels
as well as the station broadcast from Hunan Province, where their
son attends college.
"In days without a satellite TV receiver, drinking and sleeping
were all we had to do with our spare time," Li recalled of his
humdrum life seven years ago. "No entertainment, and people felt
bored and lonely."
Li's home village Songmutan is located in a remote part of
Sunan county, which is mostly inhabited by China's Yugur minority
and has a population of about 12,000. A bumpy 35-kilometer packway
connects his village with a town in Sunan county, which is 600 km
away from the provincial capital of Lanzhou and 1,800 km from the
nation's heart of Beijing.
The distance and steep, rugged mountains prevented television
signals from wireless transmission towers from reaching the
village for years.
But things began to change for Li and most other villagers
living in China's vast remote rural areas in the 1990s, when a
project was initiated by the central government to help all
farmers and herdsmen get access to TV and broadcast programs.
From 2006 to 2010, 4,534 DBS (direct broadcast satellite)
receivers were installed in 4,534 households in 76 villages of
Sunan county with an investment of 1.63 million yuan (259,000 U.S.
dollars), said Yan Wenchang, director of the local administration
of radio, film and television.
Li's DBS receiver, which the herdsman have dubbed the "pot" due
to its shape, sits in the corner of the yard. Inside his room, the
TV plays with high-definition picture quality.
All the villagers bought the receivers with an STB (set top box)
for just 100 yuan, allowing them to receive 44 satellite TV
channels, said An Yujun, secretary of the Songmutan village branch
of the Communist Party of China.
With a diameter of 40 centimeters, the delicate "pots" are
convenient for the herdsman to take with them when they are
grazing. Whether at home or on the pasture, they can stay informed
about goings-on at home and abroad as well as learn some things
about grassland farming, said An.
Apart from Gansu, local governments across the country are
aiming to "enable every rural family to have access to TV
programs." Since last September, more than 2,730 solar-powered TV
sets have been sent to herdsmen in Hotan prefecture in northwest
China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Yan Wenchang said the government is exploring more routes for
expanding broadcasting and satellite TV coverage in rural areas
and enhancing the cultural product services available to rural
"The project is moving on. By 2015, all herdsmen in Sunan will
be able to watch TV programs via DBS receivers," he said.
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