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China Improves Protection on World Heritage Sites: Official

Chinese Vice Construction Minister Qiu Baoxing said that China is improving the protection of its world heritage sites with technologies and favorable policies.

The ministry is the highest body overseeing the protection of state cultural and natural sites including these inscribed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Qiu said at the ongoing 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee.

Qiu said local governments may overuse heritage sites for tourism purpose and cause damages. China has enhanced real-time monitoring of its 20 state-level heritage sites including those World Heritage sites with remote sensing technologies. "We purchase high-definition satellite pictures twice a year, and compare present situations of heritage sites with what they used to be. Changes are clearly at a glance."

The central government will send inspectors to the sites to monitor local governments' management and use of the sites. Provincial and municipalities' governments will also send inspectors to lower governments administering certain sites, according to Qiu.

The vice minister said China is amending laws to regulate local governments' management of heritage sites. Those people found responsible for damages to the World Heritage sites and to other state cultural and natural sites will be prosecuted.
(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2004)

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