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Chinese Delegation Upbeat About Heritage Listing
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The Chinese delegation to the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee, slated for July 8-16, on Sunday expressed optimism about the inclusion of two Chinese sites into the World Heritage List.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) experts had spoken positively of the two Chinese sites, Tian Xiaogang, the secretary-general of the National Commission of China for the UNESCO, told Chinese reporters during the meeting of the World Heritage Committee.

The two sites are the giant panda habitat in southwest China's Sichuan Province and the ruins of the Shang Dynasty (16th to 11th Centuries B.C.) capital in Anyang city in central China's Henan Province.

The experts had basically agreed on the inclusion of the two Chinese sites during the preliminary assessment, Tian said.

"Our two sites have advantages as the ruins of the Shang Dynasty in Anyang meet all the criteria for application," he said, adding that the giant panda habitat is "in the class by itself."

"Our disadvantage is that China is not a member of the World Heritage Committee and cannot speak for itself if not asked to," he said.

Zhang Xinsheng, the chairman of the Executive Board of the UNESCO, agreed with Tian. He told Xinhua it was hopeful that the two sites could be included into the World Heritage List as they had been okayed initially by the experts.

However, the task of pushing them to be accepted "is still hard" before the result comes out on Wednesday, Zhang added.

The ruins of the Shang Dynasty, covering 24 square km, have been archaeologically proved to be the earliest of its kind in China, featuring the civilization of Bronze Era.

The giant panda habitat, 9,510 square km between Da Duhe and Minjiang in Sichuan Province, is of universal value in bio-diversity, according to the Chinese application report.

The Vilnius session of the World Heritage Committee will review altogether 37 new applications from 30 countries. It will also examine reports on the protection work of the currently listed sites.

So far, China has a total of 31 world heritage sites after Spain and Italy.

Three Chinese world heritage sites -- the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven -- will submit report on their protection at the session.

(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2006)

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