China plans to reduce the number of illiterate people by 2 million each year over the next five years, according to an outline issued Wednesday by the Ministry of Education. "There are still 50 million illiterate people in China, most of whom live in remote and rural areas with poor transportation and telecommunications," an official with the ministry said. The illiteracy ratio on the Chinese mainland declined to 4.08 percent in 2010 from 6.72 percent in 2000, according to the data from China's sixth national census released earlier this year. To better help these people learn how to read and write, the ministry has issued a set of guidelines on creating reading courses and compiling teaching materials especially for illiteracy eradication. In the guidelines, one course was designed to teach illiterate people how to correctly read, pronounce, write, and use 592 of the most frequently used Chinese characters. When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the illiterate population accounted for 80 percent of its 600 million people.