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Heritages gets full attention
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-17 23:46

China, which has the third highest number of world heritage relics, has drafted a number of laws to protect them.

A total of 29 cultural and natural heritage sites in China have been listed in the World Heritage List since the country joined the World Heritage Committee in 1985.

This year, the country will host the 28th Session of the committee, which is chaired by Zhang Xinsheng, China's vice-minister of education.

During a press conference held by the State Council Information Office, Zhang said the 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee will be held in Suzhou of Eastern China's Jiangsu Province from June 28 to July 7.

About 500 foreign representatives will attend the conference to discuss the approval of 50 newly nominated world heritages.

The conference, however, will meet among fears by some members that the World Heritage List is no longer representative.

While 177 countries have signed the convention, the 754 sites in the list are only in 129 of the member countries. There is not a single site in any of the other 48 members.

Members will also try to find ways to protect these sites. Many of them are deteriorating and may not last much longer.

A total of 35 sites have been listed as endangered. The committee has called on the countries where they are located to step up efforts to preserve them, Zhang said.

Zhang also called on regional governments in China to better protect heritage sites and promote the public's awareness of the importance of preserving cultural relics.

The problem, said Li Dongxu, an official of the Ministry of Construction, is finding a way to effectively protect historical resources as the process of urbanization continues.

This particular issue is not unique to China, but the country is working to develop urban planning policies and technologies that can easy the conflicts between economic development and heritage protection, Li said.

Zhang Bai, deputy-director of State Bureau of Cultural Relics, said Beijing has given top priority to the protection of its cultural relics as it prepares for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Preservation of the Yuanmingyuan Park (Old Summer Palace) and other cultural relics will be fully taken into consideration during the capital's construction for the 2008 event, said Zhang.

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