BEIJING -- Some of China's world heritage sites
are poorly managed, China's Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng admitted at a
At the national conference on world heritage protection, Sun said some local
governments that make applications for world heritage status are aimed purely at
tourism and economy development.
"Their aim is understandable. But they have not grasped the meaning of world
heritage. Their ignorance may end up causing damage to the cultural heritage,"
Some local governments have been busy developing installations at world
heritage sites, but show little interest in protecting, managing and carrying
out maintenance at the site, Sun said.
"It is an honour and a responsibility for local governments to have a world
heritage site under their administration," he said.
A number of accidents have been reported at heritage sites in China in recent
years. Wudang Mountain in central China's Hubei Province, declared a World
Heritage site in 1994, saw its 600-year-old Yuzhengong Palace burn to ashes in
2003 in a fire caused by a careless employee of a martial arts school.
Some stone inscriptions were stolen from the Dazu Rock Carvings in southwest
China's Chongqing Municipality. The site, which has more than 50,000 Buddhist,
Taoist and Confucian rock carvings and 100,000 characters of inscriptions, dates
back more than 1,000 years and was included on the World Heritage List in 1999.
China now has 33 sites on the World Heritage List. China hopes to add Diaolou
buildings (military watchtowers) in Kaiping in south China's Guangdong Province
to the list next year.
A total of 35 relic sites and ancient buildings including the Silk Road, the
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and ancient breweries are waiting to be listed as
world heritage sites, according to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage
Tong Mingkang, deputy director of SACH, said China will pay more attention to
protecting and managing heritage sites and try to prevent excessive tourism.
Site with serious management problems or which fail to prevent damage to
their cultural relics will be struck from the waiting list, Tong said.
Gu Yucai, director of the cultural relics protection department under the
SACH, said China's central government invested 149 million yuan (18.63 million
U.S. dollars) in protecting the sites on the World Heritage list in 2006,
including 50 million yuan to survey and repair the Great Wall.