On the occasion of the 20th anniversary since China joined the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, three prominent Chinese experts on urban planning and construction, preservation of cultural relics as well as arts and crafts jointly wrote to the mayors of the 18 cities along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, calling on the quickening of the process of applying for material and non-material heritages status for the world's longest canal with innovative ideas.
The three well-known experts are 91-year-old Zheng Xiaoxie on urban planning and construction, 82-year-old Luo Zhewen on the protection of ancient buildings as well as 61-year-old Zhu Bingren, an expert on copper construction and industrial arts who is currently taking charge of the renovation project of Golden Ceiling in E Mei Mountain, one project in the World Natural and Cultural Heritage.
"As far as we are concerned, Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is of priceless value. There are so many cultural relics along the canal that the eyes cannot take them all in. If the non-material heritages to be discovered are counted, we think that will be more exciting," said the three experts in their letter to the mayors.
Meanwhile the three experts are also very concerned about the inconsistency and even the conflict between protection and development and planning along the canal.
They suggest relevant departments in the 18 cities along the canal connect the declaration of natural and cultural heritages with that of non-material heritages together. As long as the methods are correct, the declaration of cultural heritage can effectively speed up local sustainable development process and can even help bring about a new cultural and natural landscape belt with Chinese characteristics.
"We have benefited from the canal for hundreds of years, and we are responsible for taking care of it. To achieve this goal, we three are willing to be the boat trackers along the canal," added the experts.
By People's Daily Online