It will always be difficult to balance development with the protection of historical sites, and this is an even bigger problem in Beijing.
The capital has hundreds of years of culture reflected in its streets, buildings, walls and even trees.
But, as more people seek opportunities in the capital, an improved civic infrastructure is needed. Hence the problem becomes highlighted as new construction battles for space with historical sites.
However, experience in Beijing's Xicheng District shows the city can expand and protect its ancient cultural sites at the same time.
Government decision-makers in the area get advice from different groups before carrying out an action plan. The district committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) also plays an active role by providing the government with suggestions.
"We use the money made from commercial projects to protect historical sites," said Wang Changlian, Party secretary of the district.
Urged by members of the district CPPCC, the government started a project to repair and protect the White Pagoda Temple in 1998.
It further said no construction could take place within a certain protection zone, regardless of the commercial opportunities.
But to compensate, businesses just outside the protection zone were given preferential treatment to help them develop.
The Financial Street Construction and Development Co Ltd was required to spend 40 million yuan (US$4.8 million) to knock down all construction, including a shopping center and homes, inside the protected region as part of the temple restoration project.
The 40 million yuan was part of the profits it earned by constructing the Beijing Financial Street, which is close to the pagoda. Since the restoration, the repaired pagoda has become more prominent.
(China Daily 06/12/2001)