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Lijiang honored by UNESCO for heritage conservation
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Lijiang, an ancient town in southwest China's Yunnan Province, has won UNESCO's 2007 Award of Merit for its restoration of ancient buildings, UNESCO official Richard Engelhart announced in the town on Monday.

A panel of international conservation experts noted that the high-degree of verisimilitude demonstrated in Lijiang's restoration showed effective government funding. It also provided an inspiring example for other ancient towns to retain their heritage, many of which are endangered by excessive numbers of tourists and urban development.

Lijiang, listed in UNESCO's "World Cultural Heritage", completed restoration of 299 households and 236 traditional complexes begun in 2003, said He Shiyong, chief of conservation and management bureau of Lijiang Ancient Town.

The award result came out in a UNESCO regional meeting in August. The formal ceremony held on Monday was an official acknowledgement to the town, said Engelhart.

The other three Awards of Merit include Bonython Hall (Adelaide, Australia), Little Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR, China) and the Astana of Syed Yahya (Skardu, Pakistan).

(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2007)

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