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Fire-safety checks at ancient monuments urged
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The State Administration of Cultural Heritage issued an urgent circular on Friday ordering fire safety checks for ancient monuments across the country.


The safety of these structures has suddenly drawn attention, following the near-total fire destruction of the 600-year-old Namdaemun (South Gate) in Seoul. Most ancient monuments in China are built mainly with bricks and wood and are vulnerable to fire, especially in areas with dry climates such as northern China.


According to the circular, the administration has received reports of seven fire cases since last year. Four of them involved key state relics under protection.


Some state-level ancient structures such as the Forbidden City, the Zhengyang Gate on Tian'anmen Square and Desheng Gate in north Beijing are under 24-hour surveillance. In some key structures, interior cameras are used to monitor crimes and other potentially harmful circumstances.


(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2008)


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