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Yunnan steps up efforts to protect ancient city of Lijiang
( 2003-07-19 10:51) (Xinhua)

Yunnan Province in southwest China has stepped up efforts to protect the ancient city of Lijiang, which has a history of more than 800 years.

As part of protection efforts, the local government has begun construction of a new city covering more than 330 hectares to accommodate residents and enterprises relocated from the ancient city. Part of the new city, being built adjacent to the ancient city, will be used to attract investment from home and abroad, government sources have said.

The ancient city of Lijiang, situated on a magnificent plateau 2,600 meters above sea level, is famous for its unique landscape, ethnic groups, houses of earth and wood, and the rich culture of the ethnic Naxi people.

In 1997, Lijiang was listed as one of the World Cultural Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Named "Xianghe Licheng," meaning "peaceful and beautiful city,"the new city will be built in the same architectural style of the ancient city of Lijiang. Total investment for the building of the new city is estimated at 6 billion yuan (726 million US dollars).

To better protect the ancient city of Lijiang, the local government has invested more than 93 million yuan (11.25 million US dollars) to repair and upgrade the sewage and drainage networks,the electrical power grid, telecommunications lines and the road network both in and around ancient Lijiang City.

The unique landscape and ethnic culture have made the ancient city a hot Chinese tourist destination.

Lijiang hosted 1.57 million visitors in 1998, and the figure rose to 3.2 million in 2002.

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