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Regulation Shields Ancient Warriors

The Shaanxi provincial government has drafted a new regulation to better protect Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb, site of the famous Terracotta Warriors.

"The newly drafted rule was sent to the Standing Committee of the Shaanxi Provincial People's Congress on Tuesday for approval," said Chen Xianqi, an official with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau.

According to the draft, the ancient tomb, located in the eastern Lintong District of Xi'an, will be divided into a protection zone and construction-control area. The provincial government will define these areas and announce where they are later.

"We suggest that the protection zone should include the ruins in the inner and outer parts of the tomb, the Terracotta Warrior pits, the tombs of builders who built Emperor Qin Shihuang's mausoleum and other ruins around the tomb area," Chen said.

With new archaeological research taking place, new locations containing ancient objects are expected to be found so "the draft stipulates that any newly found location containing relics should be protected and, if needed, defined as a protection zone or construction-control area by the provincial government," Chen added.

Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC) came to the throne of the Qin Kingdom at 13 and took the helm of the state at 22. By 221 BC, he had annexed six rival principalities and established the first unified empire in China.

The emperor started to build his tomb just after he came to the throne, and the project took 38 years to complete. Located about 35 kilometres east of Xi'an, the capital of the province, the necropolis has two enclosures that cover 2.13 square kilometres, according to Wu Yongqi, director of the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses. Many rare relics were buried with the emperor.

The emperor's tomb has not been opened, but archaeological surveys and excavations in and around the mausoleum show that a large number of ancient ruins and relics are left still underground.

The draft regulation details the measures that will better protect the ancient ruins. They will also improve local economic development and help residents.

(China Daily June 2, 2005)

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