--- SEARCH ---
Chinese Women
Film in China
War on Poverty
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar
Telephone and
Postal Codes

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies
China Knowledge

Cities' New Efforts to Protect Historic Sites

Historic buildings and sites are being given more protection thanks to measures introduced in the wake of China's construction boom, according to heritage experts.


Concern has been raised over the past few years at the threat posed to the country's heritage by modernization programs.


Liu Baoquan, director of the Research Institute on Place Names affiliated to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said China boasts more than 300 capitals, 700 counties, 10,000 towns and 100,000 villages which can be traced back at least 1,000 years.


"But the heritage embedded in the historical architectures in many of these places has been demolished due to the modernization of the country," said Liu.


However, new regulations and efforts are in place across the country to give more protection to old sites.


In Beijing, many hutong, which are narrow lanes lined with siheyuan (traditional courtyard houses), have already been replaced by skyscrapers and commercial buildings.


Statistics indicate that more than 40 per cent of the city's approximately 3,700 hutong listed in the 1980s have vanished.


But heritage expert Xie Chensheng said he was optimistic about the future for surviving hutong in Beijing after the Regulation for Historical and Cultural City Protection was introduced in the city last May.


It stipulates that the city must protect unlisted sites, such as hutong and siheyuan, in addition to more than 3,500 listed heritage sites.


"The most encouraging aspect of the regulation is that Beijing will protect the old city's landscape in its entirety, rather than just focusing on scattered heritage sites," said an official with the Beijing Administrative Bureau of Cultural Heritage, who asked not to be named.


Local governments across the country are also realizing the importance of granting protection to historic sites, as well as ensuring ancient place names live on in new schemes.


Special efforts adopted by Nanjing, once the capital of six ancient dynasties, include entitling bus and metro stations and new roads with historic place names.


Signs have also been erected at many of the sites to explain the origins of the names.


It has been reported that more than 180 historic names of places have disappeared in the past 15 years and the number of new names for locations has grown at a speed of 200 per year since 2001 in the eastern city.


"Place names, such as the Confucius Temple, represent particular parts of the ancient Chinese society. These names should be preserved as long as possible to help our descendents know more about the rich history," said Ye Bin, deputy director of the city's urban planning bureau.


Xi'an, an ancient city that served as the capital for 13 dynasties for more than 1,000 years, is also trying hard to keep its ancient style amid the rapid modern urban construction and development.


Han Ji, director of Xi'an Urban Planning Bureau, said the local government had introduced a range of measures.


"The newly built modernized districts should be set up in new zones away from the ancient part of the city," Han said.


"Tourism and trade can be carried on in the old districts, while high-tech industries and skyscrapers can be developed in the new places."


The local government has also decreased the population living within the ancient city wall area from 450,000 to 250,000 in recent years.


Historical sites in the country were most affected after reform and opening-up policies were adopted in the early 1980s, according to Zhao Zhongshu, a researcher of city planning.


"In the early years of reform, the central government had little time to think about the protection of heritage. But, now the increasing awareness of the government and people will reduce the amount of destruction of these areas," Zhao said.


(China Daily May 15, 2006)

Cities' New Efforts to Protect Historic Sites
Protection of Cultural Heritage amid Construction Craze
Memories of Hutong Remain Alive in Kuang's Pencil Drawings
Architects Urge for Protection of Beijing Hutongs
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-88828000