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Keeping historical sites away from mercenary stinks (2)

(People's Daily Online)

13:50, September 27, 2012

(File photo)

As "the carrier and symbol of the not so high-grade food culture of the United States", the opening of Starbucks in the Forbidden City was identified as a "cultural invasion", which eroded traditional Chinese culture. However, one cannot help thinking of the concocted "Forbidden City Noodles Palace" after getting rid of Starbucks. Driven by the interests of 30-yuan-per-bowl noodles, the so-called sense of cultural responsibility and sense of national culture mission becomes nothing but self-deception.

Many historical sites in China have always faced the problem of looking for a balance between cultural traditions and business development. Let us take a look at the practices in other countries: the "Forbidden City" in South Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, is protected by local government regulations which forbid food or drink store's operation in the palace area with the only exception of the beverage vending machine at the gate; while Japan preserves the historical sites in a more conservative way, that the cultural heritage may be "downgraded" or its name removed from the publicly recognized list of "national treasure" and "important cultural properties" in case of unauthorized introduction of modern equipment and industry.

When digging the reason why the traditional cultural atmosphere was diluted, in addition to reflecting on the emergence of one Starbucks shop or some other foreign brands, we should also consider whether too many commercial organizations have exceeded the needs of the tourists. After all, commercial development is only a means of cultural heritage protection, and if overdone, it will only make historical sites more infected with mercenary stinks.

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