More and more rigid standards have been adopted on approving world heritage sites and brought higher requirements for the conservation of these common treasures of all the people, said Kong Fanzhi, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture Relics in Suzhou, eastern Jiangsu Province, on Sunday.
As an attendee of the ongoing 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee, Kong also took part in two sessions of the committee, which were held in Kyoto in 1998 and Paris in 2003 respectively.
For example, Kong said, when China applied for including the Imperial Palace in Beijing on the world heritage list in 1987, there was no requirement like a buffer zone for construction in the nominated sites.
"But the situation was different when we were working on the application for the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace -- buffer zones became a necessity for a world heritage site, so we had to change our previous programming to meet the new requirement," he said.
"As a result," Kong acknowledged, "the countries across the world have paid more and more attention to the world heritage sites, which formed a sound atmosphere to protect these gifts of nature and our ancestors."
"At this time, the process to approve one item usually takes two to three hours as the applicant had to try to convince the World Heritage Committee with again-and-again statements -- but they know it is worth it, because once the site approved, it will draw the attention of the whole world," he said.
In addition, different from the previous meetings, at which the attendees were mainly experts of cultural relics, a growing number of government officials have appeared at this session, which also proved these countries have attached great importance to the world heritage, he said.
The 28th session of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization opened in Suzhou on June 28 to discuss proposed additions to the current World Heritage List and assess the global efforts for heritage conservation.
A total of 34 items out of the 48 nominated have been approved to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, including the site of capital cities and tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom in northeast China's Jilin province.
So far, China has got 30 heritage sites, with natural, cultural and mixed properties included, written into the World Heritage List.
(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2004)