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Group Protects Ancient Tombs
An alliance aimed at protecting China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) mausoleums was created on Sunday in Xuyi, an East China county known for its many historical sites.

"All of the mausoleums of the Ming Dynasty are 'relatives,' so we should communicate with and visit them more often," said Liu Jinxing, vice-president of the Ming Dynasty Mausoleum Protection Alliance.

The alliance will help organizations and government departments in protecting and visiting the Ming mausoleums. The organization is also working to ensure the Ming mausoleums will be inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Culture Heritage List.

More than 30 leaders and experts from across the country were present for the inaugural meeting of the alliance.

The Ancestry Mausoleum in Xuyi, the Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing, the Imperial Mausoleum in Fengyang, the Ming Tombs in Beijing and the Xianling Mausoleum in Zhongxiang make up an array of Ming mausoleums.

Their historical, cultural and artistic relevance have been highly praised.

The Xianling Mausoleum was the first and only to be listed in World Culture Heritage List in 2000.

"The local government invested more than 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) to improve the environment of the mausoleum, which was a key factor in passing the UNESCO investigation," said Li Bin, director of the Administrative Department of the Xianling Mausoleum in Zhongxiang.

Both the Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing and the Ming Tombs in Beijing are also working to prepare for applying to the World Culture Heritage List.

"We are sparing no effort to protect and improve both the inner and outer environment of the Xiaoling Mausoleum, preparing for the examination by UNESCO next June," said Wang Qianhua, head of the Department of Cultural Relics in the National Park of the Zhongshan Scenic Area.

Experts at the Administrative Committee for the Ming Tombs in Beijing said that they began preparations in September 2001 for their upcoming UNESCO inspection in August.

(China Daily June 11, 2002)

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