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UNESCO Official Calls for Improved Heritage Protection During China's Urbanization

Special efforts should be made to rehabilitate historical cultural heritage as Chinese urbanization accelerates, an UNESCO official said in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province Wednesday.

Mounir Bouchenaki, assistant Director-General for Culture of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said at the on-going Globalization Forum on World Cultural Diversity that when a country has a very rapid urban development, one of the challenges is balancing urban development and the preservation of historical buildings.

According to Bouchenaki, the question of rehabilitation of historic centers is not very far. Only during the middle of last century did European countries, which had very rapid urbanization, start to value historic centers.

In the 1960s, France created a law for the protection of the historic sites of Paris. Then, in Italy, there was a similar action for its old cities, such as Florence. In England, there was the creation of a very important foundation, called English Heritage.

All these initiatives are important to know, to study and to take experience from for the sake of the preservation of historic centers in China, Bouchenaki said.

Chinese authorities have made important efforts for the protection and revitalization of world heritage sites, including cultural and natural sites. Bouchenaki suggested China needs improved training of the decency of maintenance, protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage, in a bid to respect the uniqueness of each historic site.

(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2005)

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