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Xi Focus-Closeup: The Liangzhu site and its significance to Chinese civilization

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-05 16:03
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BEIJING -- In a congratulatory letter to the first Liangzhu Forum on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Liangzhu site represents the 5,000-year history of the Chinese civilization.

Xi also described the site as a treasure of world civilizations.

Over the years, Xi has paid continuous attention to the protection of the Liangzhu site, underscoring its importance on multiple occasions.

The Liangzhu site in East China's Zhejiang province first came to light in 1936 when pieces of pottery and stone artifacts were discovered, followed by the discoveries of a significant number of tombs, altars and large-scale palace foundations in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the early 2000s, there were about 30 mining sites around the site, generating excessive industrial dust and noise pollution that turned the whole area into, as one archaeologist said, "something like a war zone."

The situation did not change until the summer of 2003, when Xi, then the Party chief of Zhejiang province, made a trip to the Liangzhu site.

After watching a documentary on the protection of Liangzhu culture and being briefed on the local situation, Xi said that the Liangzhu site bears testimony to the existence of the Chinese civilization for at least 5,000 years, and stand as an invaluable treasure that cannot be replaced, stressing that it must be well protected.

As a result, the mountains in the area regained their tranquility and greenery, and many archaeological discoveries have been made over the past 20 years, including the unearthing of the Liangzhu ancient city in 2007 and a water conservancy system in 2015.

In 2016, four archaeologists wrote to Xi to express their hope that the Liangzhu site would be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List at the earliest possible date. Xi made an instruction, once again stressing the importance of the effective protection of ancient ruins, highlighting their role in deepening understanding of the long history and value of the Chinese civilization.

Three years later, the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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