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Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area Says No to Film Shooting
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Jiuzhaigou, a World Heritage-listed scenic area of outstanding beauty in southwest China's Sichuan Province, announced recently it will turn down requests to conduct TV or film shooting in its scenic spots beginning in 2007, Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

The decision was made after a thorough and rigorous examination of its main scenic spots, according to the area's administration.

Experts with the Ministry of Construction say some of China's world heritage sites are facing an increasingly serious threat, to the point of irreversible destruction.

In the past, TV and film producers have destroyed the scenic environment at Jiuzhaigou, including the shooting teams of The Promise (Wu Ji), Stories of Heroes (Da Qi Ying Xiong Zhuan) and The Legend of Condor Hero (Shen Diao Xia Lu).

The crew of The Promise, for example, was accused of littering and damaging vegetation near the pristine Bigu Lake in Shangri-la county, a scenic natural reserve known as human paradise in southwest China's Yunnan Province, while the Condor Hero crew caused heavy pollution in the Jiuzhaigou National Forest Park in southwest Sichuan Province.

The producers of the Stories of Heroes were recently criticized by Pan Yue, deputy director of State Environmental Protection Administration, for arbitrarily painting the Moya Stone Inscriptions in a scenic area in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province.

In May 2006, producers of The Promise were fined 90,000 yuan (US$11,250) for their shameful environmentally insensitive behavior.

"In the wake of the destruction of a pristine Shangri-la lakeside by a film shooting crew, many scenic areas in China have taken measures to protect the environment," said Feng Gang, deputy director of the Jiuzhaigou Administraion.

Jiuzhaigou was among the 33 World Heritage sites, including E'Mei Mountain and Huangshan Mountain, to jointly sign a manifesto at the end of 2006, pledging to prioritize protection over exploitation and to accept public and media supervision by publicizing any commercial and film shooting activities.

On March 3, construction authorities in central China's Hubei Province announced that TV and film shooting will be banned in 30 provincial-level scenic spots, including Donghu Lake, Wudang Mountain, and Qingjiang River.

To prevent further environmental destruction by film crews, the State Environmental Protection Administration, the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Culture and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage jointly released a new regulation on March 1, 2007 to restrict film shooting and artistic performances in these areas.

According to the regulation, film shooting and artistic performances will only be allowed in experimental zones of nature reserves, outer sections of scenic spots and some cultural heritage sites, upon approval from relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Construction has revised regulations relating to the protection of scenic spots. Companies and individuals that significantly damage scenery, vegetation, and landforms will now be fined between 500,000 yuan (US$62,500) and 1 million yuan(US$130,000).

(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2007)
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