China will invest 420 million yuan (about US$50 million) in the next five years in protecting key cultural relics along the world famous Silk Road in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
A source with the Xinjiang cultural relics working conference said the project was approved by the State Council and will be launched in 2005.
It will become one of most important projects of China's cultural relics development and protection program in 2005. The details of the project are still under discussion.
An ancient trade route linking China with the Roman Empire, the Silk Road extended for 6,440 kilometers across the vast autonomous region. Frescos and unearthed stoneware, bronze ware and pottery from along the route are of high archaeological value.
Xinjiang has more than 4,000 cultural relics, 41 under state-level protection.
(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2005)