Ranking third in the World Heritage list in terms of number of heritage sites, China announced Monday it would survey its unmovable relics next year, to upgrade the findings of the last survey carried out more than two decades ago and to better protect them in the future.
"This survey will help us determine the number, distribution, character, current situation and environment of those unmovable relics," said Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH). "The information will facilitate scientific protection and policy making in the field."
The survey, scheduled from January 2007 to December 2011, will focus on cultural sites on the ground, underground and underwater. SACH will register new relics, and check known ones to form a more comprehensive database.
China carried out two national surveys on its cultural relics in the 1950s and 1980s respectively. However, for various reasons, the data turned out to be unreliable, Shan said.
He said that about 320 counties across the country were excluded from the second survey, accounting for 12.1 percent of then China's total 2650 counties and regions.
"In the subsequent 20 years, China has experienced great change. It has found some relics and damaged others. A new, comprehensive survey is definitely needed," said Shan.
According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Culture, China has 400,000 unmovable relics, and about 200 million removable cultural items.
(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2006)