An ancient watchtower in northwest
China, with a history of more than 1,200 years, has been destroyed
by a TV production company during a film shoot.
The best preserved ancient Tang
Dynasty (618-907) watchtower in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
was sprayed black by staff from Guangdong CHS Media Holding Co.
Chinese law stipulates that any
company intending to conduct a film shoot at a cultural site must
first obtain permission from the regional cultural heritage
However, the company failed to do
so, said Zhu Jiangfeng, an official from the local cultural relic
"When we were informed of the
incident, we hurried out to the site, but the production staff had
already finished building the scene and had sprayed the watchtower
black," Zhu said.
"We ordered them to clean the
stained watchtower, but it's hard to remove the stains completely,"
Experts from the local cultural
relics bureau checked the tower and found that the damage was
serious: the north wall of the watchtower, the best preserved part
for over 1,200 years, was stained black over an area of 60 square
meters; the other walls had been trampled on and damaged.
After verifying the damage, the
cultural relics bureau fined the company 10,000 yuan (about
US$1,250) and called in experts to repair the watchtower.
This is not the first time the
company has destroyed a cultural site. The same company stained a
precious Buddhist stone carving in East China's Zhejiang Province
In another case, the producers of
director Chen Kaige's fantasy movie, The Promise, were punished for
damaging a historic site in Shangrila in southwestern China's
The film crew was accused of
littering and destroying vegetation at a scenic nature reserve
known as Blue Sky Pond while the film was being shot in 2004.
A provincial regulation led to a
fine of 90,000 yuan (about US$11,250) for the producers, and a
Shangrila county deputy magistrate was fired for dereliction of
But some experts criticized the
local government for being too tolerant of the film production
company, because the fine was paltry compared to film's budget.
Experts said this could encourage
film companies to carry on with this behavior.
"Companies that violate the law
should be punished severely," said Li Jun, office director of the
Xinjiang cultural relic bureau.
The Ministry of Construction has
revised the regulation on the environmental protection of scenic
spots, and instituted fines ranging from 500,000 yuan (US$62,500)
to 1 million yuan for heavy damage to scenery, vegetation and
(Xinhua News Agency September 21,