China attaches great importance to educational development of the whole nation and lifelong learning, said Vice Premier Liu Yandong here on Monday. Liu made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Learning Cities, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from Oct. 21 to 23 in Beijing. \"In the 21st century, the country emphasizes lifelong learning, with the formation of a learning society as an important objective in the construction of a moderately prosperous society,\" Liu said. Based on the access to Internet by a population of 570 million, as Liu put it, one sixth of Chinese cities have proposed the construction of learning cities and more than 400 cities have organized reading festivals, reading months and other activities. \"We will emphasize the link between construction of learning cities and new urbanization,\" Liu said. Vice Minister of Education Lu Xin said China should strengthen international cooperation and promote exchanges between learning cities. In the 1960s, UNESCO proposed the concept of \"lifelong learning\", and emphasized lifelong education as the cornerstone of a learning society. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, also attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech. More than 500 representatives from 102 member states of UNESCO participated in the conference.