Suzhou, a picturesque city in east China's Jiangsu Province, has expressed a strong desire to host the 28th Conference of the World Heritage Committee next year.
Suzhou was originally designated to host this year's 27th Conference of the World Heritage Committee. However, due to the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on China, the event was moved to Paris.
"We feel a great regret about the change," said Suzhou Mayor Yang Weize.
As a matter of fact, there has been not a single SARS patient in Suzhou, he added.
The city, once designated as the venue for the 27th Conference, had made all the necessary preparations, including importing office equipment from Japan and the Netherlands and training security personnel and tourist guides.
"Though we missed the opportunity to host the conference," Yangsaid, "we will do our utmost to protect our cultural heritage and improve our urban environment."
Teenagers in Suzhou recently mailed 1,750 postcards to member states of the World Heritage Committee. The postcards bore the message "World heritage is on my mind" set against an image portraying environmental protection.
(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2003)