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Leaning pagoda to be protected
By Ma Lie (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-22 00:59

A new project will aim to protect the Yan'an Pagoda, a prominent relic and symbol of the Chinese revolution.

The central government approved a 35.8 million yuan (US$4.31 million) to protect the structure tilted by frequent landslides in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

"We will soon start the project with the investment from the central government, thoroughly controlling landslides and other geological disasters on Mount Pagoda," said Zhao Suijin, director of the Mount Pagoda Management Office.

Built during the imperial Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the 44-metre-high octagonal pagoda is under national-level protection. It is considered a major historical and cultural site.

The pagoda is on Mount Pagoda in the city of Yan'an, some 400 kilometres north of the provincial capital of Xi'an.

Between 1935 and 1947, Yan'an was a prestigious base of the Chinese revolution under the command of late Chairman Mao Zedong.

The nine-story ancient structure had tilted more than 30 cm northwestwards, according to a survey done in 2000.

The pagoda could be threatened by further landslide and other geological factors, the survey report warned.

At the time, the city developed a protection plan, but it could not get started due to lack of money, said local officials.

The rehabilitation project will be carried out in two phases. One is consolidation the mountain through piling while the other will see concrete barriers built to control landslides, said Zhao.

"Wars throughout history, irresponsible action by nearby villagers and nature have together led to soil erosion on the mountain. And the soil erosion and the destruction of vegetation are the major reasons for the landslides," Zhao said.

To complete the consolidation, some 300 households will be moved out of the mountain area.

The Yan'an local government has allocated 8.2 million yuan (US$987,000) to move the households and prepare for the project.

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