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China to renovate 10 more quake-battered relics
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China will start renovation of another 10 cultural relic sites that suffered severe damage in the May 12 earthquake this year, according to a cultural official in Beijing on Friday.

The new renovations were in addition to projects that had already started in Dujiangyan and for ancient buildings of the Qiang ethnic group in the quake area, said Li Peisong, a State Administration of Cultural Heritage official.

"The two projects were the first to start because damage there was severe and the two were world-level heritage."

The Dujiangyan ancient building cluster, in the hard-hit Dujiangyan area, was listed as World Heritage. The Qiang buildings were on the waiting list for World Heritage designation.

Li said the Qiang buildings were severely battered as they were mainly in areas devastated in the southwest China quake, such as Wenchuan, Lixian, Maoxian and Beichuan in Sichuan Province.

Zhang Bai, the administration's deputy head, said a 269 state-level heritage sites, including Dujiangyan, and 250 provincial-level sites in provinces such as Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi, had reported damage after the quake.

Nearly 3,000 cultural relic items, including 292 precious ones, were damaged, Zhang added.

"The quake was also a disaster to cultural relics in the area. Huge losses have incurred, but it's hard to calculate the losses in the exact amount of money."

He told reporters that funds needed for the renovation would come from the government reconstruction funds, financial support from other provinces and donations from both home and abroad.

Zhang emphasized the country was "welcome" and "thankful to" overseas donations to cover the damage to cultural relics in quake areas, and was ready to accept such foreign assistance.

Four sites nominated for preservation as China quake museum

Four sites in the area devastated by the May 12 earthquake in southwest China will be preserved intact as part of a large museum project, a cultural official told reporters on Friday.

The four locations are Beichuan County, Yingxiu Township in Wenchuan County (the epicenter), the Hanwang manufacturing base of the Dongfang Steam Turbine Corp. in Mianzhu, and a deep ravine at Hongkou, Dujiangyan, once a famous scenic spot. All are in Sichuan, the hardest-hit province.

The four sites were jointly chosen by a panel of experts on such topics as cultural heritage, construction and seismology and were written into the latest plan for the museum, according to Li Yaoshen, deputy head of the museum section of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

He said the Sichuan government had submitted the plan to the central government last Friday.

Research work for the quake museum started late in May.

Li said the main goal of the museum would be to serve as "a testimony to, an exhibition and commemoration of the quake" and for people to mourn the victims. A memorial wall with the names, ages and images of the quake victims might be erected, he said.

The museum would also be a place to conduct quake research and disseminate it to the public.

The museum is expected to be built in two to three years, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2008)

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